The City of Ghent meets in Gothenburg with partners from six European countries to find solutions for climate change.
Sixteen organizations of six European countries are working together in the international BEGIN project. BEGIN stands for 'Blue Green Infrastructures through Social Innovation'. Organizations from Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands unite forces to find solutions for climate change. The City of Ghent is one of the partners in the project. The first meeting of the steering committee is from Jun 12-14 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Climate change has been very much in the news lately. The recent turn of events around the Paris Agreement makes it all the more clear that Europe will have an important lead in this matter. Climate adaptations are not something you simply impose, we do it together, and we need the active support of the people. And that is exactly what BEGIN focusses on.
Blue Green Infrastructure
Cities are not sufficiently prepared for ever more frequent and heavier rainfall due to climate change. The conventional grey infrastructure (e.g. sewer system and the like) needs additional so-called 'blue green' solutions. 'Blue' means: for instance more capacity for water storage and drainage. 'Green' means: less pavement for example. These blue green measures do not only help to cope with the extreme weather conditions, they also contribute to a more attractive and enjoyable living environment. It is BEGIN's aim to find and show improved climate adaptation solutions in urban areas, to identify the benefits, and to have measures installed and maintained by social initiatives, and finally, to have blue green infrastructure perceived as an obvious and integral part of urban development, by developing projects and lowering thresholds.
An active role for the local community
What makes this project so special, is the active role for the local community. We are reaching out to the local citizens, entrepreneurs and social institutions to collaborate in the creation and maintenance of solutions that will make our living environment more attractive, resistant and resilient when it comes to coping with the consequences of climate change.
The BEGIN project will run from 2017 to 2020. The participating partners are: from Belgium: City of Antwerp; and City of Ghent; from Germany: Agency for Roads Bridges and Waters, Hamburg; and the Hamburg University of Technology; City of Bergen (Norway); City of Gothenburg (Sweden); from the United Kingdom: City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council; Construction Industry Research Information Association (CIRIA); the London Borough of Enfield; Kent County Council; Royal College of Arts; University of Sheffield; and the Aberdeen City Council. Finally, from The Netherlands: UNESCO-IHE Delft; Erasmus University Rotterdam; and the City of Dordrecht, who is the initiator and lead partner of the BEGIN project.
BEGIN is a project funded by Interreg Europe, who helps regional and local governments across Europe to develop and deliver better policy.