Citizens and Scientist Hand in Hand in the Search for Urban Wellbeing
We are excited to announce that the euPOLIS project, an innovative philosophy of urban planning incorporating nature-based solutions (NBS) in the urban landscape, now starts a process of planning interventions in 4 demonstration cities.
The euPOLIS will conduct a voluminous survey among the residents who live, work, study in the vicinity or visit the demo sites (DS) in all four front-runner cities (FR) and case studies in follower-cities (FL) to map the challenges and identify their needs and preferences. Depending on the pandemic restrictions and recommendations, the surveys will be done online and/or in-person. The resuts of the surveys and the experts’ advices will be propagated among all potential participants (stakeholders) throughout various communication channels (social networks, public and professional events, web, etc.). Various motives of engagements with DS (sports, culture, social interaction, family visits, jobs…) will be included/channeled through the focus-groups. Those who express deeper interest in supporting the project to meet its objectives, will become “friends of the project” – regular participants of recurring meetings with teams of local euPOLIS project experts, and work hand-in-hand with the scientists/professionals to improve citizens’ PH&WB (public health and well-being) and discover a formula for a happy urban environment.
The participants of the focus groups will be given innovative medical/sports/biometrical gadgets that will help measure their health conditions before, during and after the visit of the demo site. They will also be able to decide and control how frequently they want to be contacted by the project/medical experts and by what means.
Furthermore, all these steps will be taken to improve gender equality, digital literacy, social inclusion of some groups (especially vulnerable/disadvantaged ones), and above all, to help the cities accustomed to top-down approach (all key decisions made somewhere else – on the top), to embrace and make the transition to the bottom-up approach: (my voice heard, my proposed solutions accepted and implemented).
The euPOLIS teamed up professionals of different expertise so it relies on the knowledge of medical specialists, biologists, water/environmental/energy specialists, IT innovators but also social studies, and communication experts aiming at implementing nature-based solutions (NBS/GBS) into an urban environment. The purpose of these nature-based solutions is to create a sustainable healthy and pleasant environment, improve water and air quality and revitalize the soil and re-establish urban biodiversity. In the following months and years, these experts will tackle all aspects and layers of the societal and environmental conditions.
Four front runners (FR) cities: Gladsaxe, Lodz, Belgrade, and Piraeus are pioneering this EU-funded Horizon 2020 program, coordinated by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and interconnecting the knowledge and experience of 28 partners from all around the globe. This also includes 5 follower (FL) cities (Limassol, Palermo and Trebinje) from Europe and Bogota (Columbia) and Fengxi New City (China) to share the innovative planning methodology of the FR cities.
The euPOLIS is on the mission of making citizens’ lives better, fulfilled, and unballasted by environmental decay. With participation being one of the crucial pillars of the euPOLIS philosophy, the front-runner cities are currently preparing the co-creative process that will put together the team of experts with the genuine experience and needs of local citizens.
The euPOLIS, kicked-off in September 2020, front-runner cities already held four workshops to map the stakeholders and present the project concept, and to start identifying its leaders. We have also launched our website, and profiles on social media.
The euPOLIS partners have multiple roles in the project, but their predominant categories are:
National Technical University of Athens (project coordinator), Imperial College London – Civil and Environmental Engineering (United Kingdom), University of Belgrade – Faculty of Civil Engineering plus a team of medical experts (Serbia), University of Warsaw – the Robert Zajonc Institute for Social Studies (Poland), and Universidad de Los Andes – Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Bogota (Colombia);
Partners supporting cities and providing professional (“horizontal”) support to all partners:
Amphi International ApS (Denmark), EnPlus (Serbia), European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology – ERCE (Poland) and Mikser Association (Serbia);
Suppliers of nature-based solutions technology, citizens’ health monitoring under the impact of NBS, and informatics support partners:
BioAssist (Greece), Biopolus (Hungary), Byspektrum (Denmark), Geosystems Hellas S.A. (Greece), Plegma Labs (Greece), Resilience Guard (Switzerland), RISA Sicherheitsanalysen (Germany), Sentio Labs (Greece), and Vertical Farming Institute (Austria);
International exposure and links with the business world:
CDP Europe (Germany)
Front Runners cities:
Belgrade (Serbia), Lodz (Poland), Piraeus (Greece), and Gladsaxe Municipality (Denmark),
Palermo (Italy), Limassol (Cyprus), Trebinje (Republic of Srpska, BiH), Bogota (Colombia), and Fengxi New City (China)