Improved urban planning helps adaptation to climate change

The GRaBS project is enabling urban designers, architects and planners across Europe to create or remodel outdoor spaces and buildings to ensure they are resilient to climate change and extreme weather.

Additional tools


With today’s very high levels of greenhouse gases, urban areas are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising temperatures and increased flooding.

The GRaBS project – Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco-towns – sets out to provide the tools and knowledge to ensure that urban development across Europe, both existing and new, is suitably adapted to the impacts of climate change.

Its key objective is to improve capacity and skills in the use of ‘green’ and ‘blue’ infrastructure. The term, ‘green infrastructure’ refers to gardens, parks, landscapes, green roofs etc., while ‘blue infrastructure’ covers water bodies such as rivers, streams, floodplains and sustainable drainage systems. Both can play a vital role in creating climate-resilient development.

Strategic spatial planning

GRaBS is an INTERREG IVC project which brings together 14 partners from eight EU Member States representing authorities facing a wide range of climate change challenges.

Appropriate strategic spatial planning and urban design are able to provide solutions which can reduce vulnerability to the anticipated impact of climate change.

Within the framework of the project, policies and tools have been developed to promote the role of green and blue infrastructure for suitably adapting towns and cities across Europe. Through interregional cooperation, the GRaBS project has facilitated the transfer of good practice, knowledge, and experience on climate change adaptation strategies to local and regional authorities across Europe.

A key product of the GRaBS project is the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Tool which allows planners to input climate and socio-economic data into a GIS mapping system and measure the vulnerability of specific areas to climate change patterns. This is complemented by the development of an online database of international case studies which compiles information on effective climate change adaptation planning in urban areas.

Policy integration and action plans

Through the stimulus of the GRaBS project, climate change adaptation has been integrated into policy at various strategic levels with partners producing Adaptation Action Plans (AAPs) and High Level Policy Statements. To date, 11 AAPs have been produced by 11 partners in seven different Member States.

These are used as a decision-making tool not only for planners but also to raise awareness of the challenges of extreme weather on urban neighbourhoods with politicians, stakeholders and local community groups.

Total and EU funding

The project “GRaBS: Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco-towns” has a total eligible budget of EUR 3 183 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 430 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date