Latest news on the CLEVER Cities project

CLEVER Cities Project Wraps Up 5-Year Initiative, Marking Milestones in Urban Regeneration

29 November 2023

CLEVER Cities Project Wraps Up 5-Year Initiative, Marking Milestones in Urban Regeneration

29 November 2023


After an impactful 5-year journey, the CLEVER Cities project is drawing to a close. It leaves behind a trail of substantial achievements and a blueprint for transformative urban regeneration for others to follow. Spanning across key European cities like Hamburg, London, and Milan, and extending beyond Europe to China and Quito (Ecuador) CLEVER Cities has steered a radical shift in co-creative urban development strategies, emphasizing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as a cornerstone for sustainable and inclusive cities worldwide.

Initiated with a vision to revitalize urban landscapes with nature, the project's core essence revolved around collaborative endeavors. Cities engaged in inclusive collaboration, multi-disciplinary learning, and robust exchanges, fostering a novel approach to urban transformation rooted in nature-based interventions.

What CLEVER Cities Achieved:

Over the course of its tenure, CLEVER Cities laid the groundwork for community-driven transformations. Local teams comprising residents, businesses, knowledge partners, and authorities collaborated in crafting tailor-made urban metamorphoses in Hamburg, London, and Milan.. Hamburg worked with the community to build a green pathway that included a natural playscape and sustainable urban drains. London sponsored community organised and led greening projects and educational opportunities. Milan invested in green roofs and facades across the city. Each approach ensured that urban rejuvenation was not just a process but a participatory journey, catering to the unique needs of each locality.

Project impacts were not limited to these three cities, but extended across the globe to cities like Belgrade, Larissa, Madrid, Malmö, Sfântu Gheorghe, and Quito, exchanging expertise and knowledge. These cross-city interactions facilitated adaptation of NbS interventions, making them applicable and effective in various urban contexts worldwide. Study visits, a project highlight, brought a wide range of city representatives to Hamburg, Milan, London, and Quito, where participants viewed a wide range of resident-led urban greening initiatives. NbS projects from around the world were able to benefit from similar knowledge exchange at the CLEVER Cities Final Conference (Nature in the City), which explored social and environmental impacts of urban greening. 

Main Gains and Next Steps:

CLEVER Cities launched a range of resources and tools including:


As well as providing information, these resources act as roadmaps for stakeholders wishing to realise the potential of NbS. They are all just the beginning, as cities plan to sustain green initiatives and knowledge sharing in their regions.

The project highlighted the non-linear nature of co-creation in NbS projects, emphasising the importance of consistent terminology and citizen empowerment. The conclusion of the CLEVER Cities project signifies a milestone in promoting NbS for urban regeneration. While the project concludes, its influence on urban planning remains, inspiring cities to consider nature-centric approaches for resilient and sustainable urban landscapes. The project's legacy promises to propel cities toward more environmentally conscious and connected futures, fostering thriving communities globally. Stay in touch with project cities via NetworkNature and ICLEI to see what happens next.