Delft, The Netherlands, 06 Dec 2021

Blue-green infrastructure project that helps cities cope with future climate extremes wins Public Choice Award in European Commission competition

The urban innovation project BEGIN, as part of which 10 cities and six research institute developed solutions and shared best practices to deal with extreme weather events and enhance climate change adaptation, won most public votes in the European Commission’s Regiostars Awards 2021 competition.

The Regiostars Awards honour innovative, inspiring EU-funded projects. The BEGIN project competed with 24 other finalists selected among 214 applicants by an independent jury. The winners were announced 2 December 2021 at an award ceremony in Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

IHE Delft was among partners in the BEGIN project that introduced blue-green infrastructure pilot projects such as green corridors, sustainable urban drainage systems and other social innovations to reduce flood risk and improve liveability in project cities. 

The more than 30 pilots implemented as part of the project have led to a flood risk reduction of more than 50 percent, which, according to partners’ calculations, will save €350 million over the next 20 years. 

Dr. William Veerbeek, a researcher in urban climate adaptation who led IHE Delft’s involvement in the project, said the award indicates that the solutions offered by the project are well-received. 

The award is an acknowledgement that the public agrees that blue-green measures are necessary to safeguard the future in climate change,” he said. 

“The blue and green urban environments promoted by the project are more resilient to climate change and healthier than other urban environments. They also provide more ecological value and, ultimately, a higher quality of life.” 

The BEGIN was launched in 2016 and culminated in October 2021 with an event at which partners explored possibilities to spread the use of the approaches beyond the pilot sites. 

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