Funded research


City-centred Approach to Catalyse Nature-Based Solutions through EU Regenerative Urban Lighthouse

Development of a comprehensive reference network for future urban design and development through Nature-Based solutions.

Even though cities only occupy a small percentage of the earth's surface, they are growing rapidly both in terms of population numbers and the amount of land they consume. Today, urban areas already account for around two-thirds of global energy consumption and correspondingly high CO2 emissions. This development also has an impact on air quality, which among other things leads to increasing concerns about the health and well-being of the inhabitants. To counteract these challenges and support human well-being and biodiversity, there is an increasing push for the development and implementation of so-called Nature-Based Solutions (NBS).

The Project

Due to the multitude of different existing NBS and their application possibilities, numerous challenges arise in cities when it comes to find a suitable solution for region-specific needs. This is where the UPSURGE project comes in. Based on data-based sensors and artificial intelligence, this project will create a reference network for already existing solutions in order to provide cities with the knowledge and with orientation for a successful transition towards sustainable urban development.

The exemplary implementation of different NBS will be carried out in five model cities. In selected neighborhoods in Budapest, Maribor, Breda, Katowice and Belfast, greening projects such as so-called "Urban Jungles" or "Urban Gardening" facilities will be created. This implementation is accompanied by comprehensive measurements and local citizen participation processes that determine the impact on nature and society. Finally, all results will be made available digitally and the scalability and transferability to other cities will be worked out.

As part of the project, CENTOURIS first researches the socio-economic status quo in the participating cities. In addition, local residents are to be actively involved in the urban development projects from the very beginning, as they ultimately represent the end users of the new installations in the cities. Throughout the course of the project, the perception and preferences of potential target groups will be analyzed in cooperation with municipal stakeholders using scientifically profound methods and comprehensive citizen participation processes. The technical developments are accompanied by population surveys and usability tests. Direct user feedback from the very beginning is intended to achieve a high level of willingness to make use of the newly created services later on and to ensure that all installations meet the specific local needs. A high level of acceptance by the population is essential for the sustainability of the NBS and the results serve as a basis for concepts and recommendations for action regarding the transferability of various NBS to other cities and regions.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101003818.

Project Duration: 09/2021 - 08/2025

Project Amount: 9.703462,50 €


Further participating Institutions:

  • Institute of Communication Studies Skopje
  • Acondicionamiento Tarrasene Associacion
  • Universiteit Antwerpen
  • Municipality of Patras
  • POR Consult, d.o.o.
  • Commune die Prato
  • Fundacion AITIIP
  • OPENCONTENT Societa Cooperativa
  • Belfast City Council
  • Bright Urban Solution Team Nonprofit LLC
  • ICLEI European Secretariat GMBH
  • Institut Wcycle Maribor
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
  • Budapest Fovaros XVIII. Kerulet Pestszentlorinc
  • Gemeente Breda
  • BeeOdiversity
  • The Queen’s University of Belfast
  • Fondazione OPERATE
  • University of Leeds
  • Instytut Ekologii Terenow Uprzemylowionych
  • Katowice City Hall