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Interview with coordinator Jose Maria Sarreigi on the Smart Mature Resilience project

27 June 2018

Which sectors has your project focused on and why is resilience so important for these sectors? In our case, we have focused on cities. Our assumption was that if we would like Europe to be resilient, we needed a backbone of resilient cities. So, that’s the metaphor we have used. We would like to contribute to creating this backbone of European cities.

How can your European resilience management guidelines support resilience building in Europe? Our guideline and the five tools included in this guideline, contribute to the city resilience development process. In this process, there are many stakeholders involved, and we have defined a Maturity Model that goes through five stages. Each of the tools supports one cycle of these five stages. We have the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire, the Maturity Model, the Policies Tool, the City Resilience Dynamics tool, the Communication tool, and each of them are used in a cycle within this process going through the five maturity stages: Starting, Moderate, Advanced, Robust and Vertebrate.

Who can use the tools you have developed? Any stakeholder involved in this city resilience development process, starting from the local governments, and also including first responders, critical infrastructure operators, media, citizens: so any stakeholder involved in the city resilience development process.

What is different about your project compare to the other four DRS-7 projects? Our main contribution is including this perspective from the cities. Other projects have been more focused on critical infrastructure, which are of course very relevant to city resilience, but in our case, our unit of analysis – our focus – has been the city, which includes the critical infrastructure, but not the opposite. In some other cases, they have started from the critical infrastructure and then have gone to the local government.

What has been the most impactful outcome of your project? Listening to our users today, I would say that we have cooperated to break the silos among the departments in the cities. It is usual that cities have different departments: one related to climate change, another one related to mobility, another one related to social affairs. So during this project, we have created some cooperation opportunities among these departments, and I think that has been our main impact on them.

How did you contribute to the White Paper on Critical Infrastructure? Our contribution has been directed towards the inclusion of the city perspective. In addition to the perspective starting from critical infrastructure, we have added this perspective starting from cities, which I think is also very relevant.

Looking to the future, what are your thoughts on integrating the outcomes of the five projects? At this stage, we have many bricks that could be useful to build this resilient wall. Now, we know more about each other, we know more about the tools developed in other projects, so we have all the ingredients we need to create a good recipe. So, now we have to better understand how we can adapt the other projects’ developed tools into our guidelines. So, I am optimistic about the integration prospect.

Watch the video interview at


Transforming post-industrial zones to green hubs

12 June 2018

A new European-funded project “Productive Green Infrastructure for Post-industrial Urban Regeneration (proGIreg)” was launched in Aachen on 12th June 2018. The cities of Dortmund (Germany), Turin (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia) will harness the productive potential of key post-industrial areas with the involvement of local NGOs, community groups and residents.

The city of Dortmund will use the renatured Deusenberg landfill site to produce solar power and provide sports areas and creating fruit-producing forests with the local residents of Huckarde. Ultimately, the aim is to turn the isolated Huckarde borough into a green space, thereby filling in the missing link between two river sites that have already been converted into nature parks. “We would like to use the existing strengths of this urban area,” said Stefan Thabe, Department of City Planning and Building Regulations, City of Dortmund. “We would like to connect the existing potential, and we would like to improve quality of life in the urban area.”

A further central goal of the Living Lab Dortmund is to establish a community planned, built and operated aquaponic farm. Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and soilless plant cultivation, where fish, plants and bacteria live together in a circular system, making farming possible in areas with hostile post-industrial soil. ProGIreg aims to design a lower tech, low cost aquaponics system that is accessible and suitable for community investment, community building and community operation. The technology has been implemented in Dortmund since 2012 and the project plans to use the experience of the city and its local expert partners to stimulate aquaponic innovations in the project's other cities. 

“We are planning to reconstruct a former meat processing plant to create a new centre in the Sesvete area,” said Matija Vuger, Head of Section for International and Regional Projects, City of Zagreb. “The nature-based interventions will include urban gardens, a new cycle path, a modern business innovation hub with green walls and green roofs, and aquaponics agriculture.”  

Turin will introduce nature-based solutions including aquaponics, cycle lanes, bee-friendly areas and green roofs and walls to the post-industrial ‘Mirafiori Sud’ area and to connect local groups already working on urban agriculture. Turin will experiment with the use of ‘new soil,’ produced by combining compost and special fungi with poor-quality, but uncontaminated soil, and will introduce carbon compensation and offset schemes for private companies and large public events. Elena Deambrogio, Head of Office for Smart Cities and EU Funds at Comune di Torino said, “This project is ambitious because we have to work on different sectoral policies, including urban regeneration, social and active inclusion, environment and green planning and economic development and support to innovation.”  

The three cities will work with four further cities in Eastern and Southern Europe: Cascais (Portugal), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Piraeus (Greece) and Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to research, share and scale up the nature-based solutions tested along with 25 other organisations including coordinator Rheinsch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. “We need to make politicians and decision-makers aware that nature-based solutions can be more than just for leisure activities, and that they are of crucial importance,” said Teresa Ribeiro, landscape architect at Cascais Ambiente.

“ProGIreg is the next step in bringing issues around green infrastructure, urban development and business innovation together,” said project coordinator Dr. Axel Timpe. “We are lucky to have an inspiring group of ambitious, committed and experienced cities on the proGIreg team, and together we will show the productive potential of green infrastructure for urban regeneration.”  

A large launch event will be held in Dortmund on 25-26 September. For more information, follow the project at


SMR Tier 3 cities to bring the European Resilience Management Guideline to the world stage at the ICLEI World Congress in Montreal

1 June 2018

The Smart Mature Resilience cities of Athens, Greater Manchester and Reykjavik will represent the project at the major global urban sustainability conference, the ICLEI World Congress, in Montreal in June 2018.

At the ICLEI World Congress 2018 in June 2018, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and Ville de Montréal will bring together hundreds of mayors, governors, city staff, international organizations, business leaders and researchers to share their ideas, successes and challenges in advancing sustainable urban development worldwide. The Tier 3 cities, having joined the project in November 2017, are by now well-versed not only in the major standout resilience issues of today but have also gained a deep understanding of the research the project has carried out since 2015 into urban resilience building and development.

Held every three years, the ICLEI World Congress is among the top platforms for peer-to-peer exchange on the latest ideas and innovations designed to advance sustainable development in our urban world. Together, participants will examine key issues and solutions - from the circular economy to nature-based solutions and systemic resilience - set to play a key role in the development of our cities and regions.

More information and a programme are available at

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 653569.