About the partnership

The Ex-Ante Assessment concluded that there is a good opportunity for launching a Greening Cities Thematic Partnership with a focus on green and blue infrastructure in an urban context and with extensive links to a number of priority sectors, namely the built environment, sustainable transport, water management and urban agriculture. The Partnership was deemed to have high relevance to meet urban challenges and the needs of cities of all sizes, including small and medium sized cities with regards to biodiversity preservation and adaptation to climate change. Furthermore, it is aligned with the objectives of cities to increase well-being of citizens through cleaner air, better inclusiveness and more aesthetic environments.

The new Partnership is in line with numerous global (a number of SDGs) and EU policy agendas such as the Biodiversity Strategy, the Green Infrastructure Strategy, the Climate Adaptation Strategy, the New European Bauhaus Initiative, etc. It is also coherent with a number of other EU initiatives, which represents potential for cross-fertilisation and exchange at policy level. The new Thematic Partnership is building on and complementing the results of the previous Thematic Partnerships on Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions, Air quality and Climate adaptation, as well as on the knowledge generated on green and blue infrastructure.

The Partnership leans on the key pillars of the Urban Agenda for the EU, namely better knowledge, better regulation and better funding. In terms of better knowledge, while a solid base already exists, the access to knowledge is unequal and significant improvements are possible for the deployment of concrete green and blue infrastructure solutions at city level, following tested methodologies. Concerning better regulation, the Partnership could provide feedback to the European Commission with the objective of strengthening the urban dimension of upcoming EU policies and better integrating green and blue infrastructure (GI) in other sectoral policies. The Partnership could also support cities to better implement relevant EU policies and also better integrate GI into national, local and regional voluntary and mandatory planning documents. In terms of better funding, the Partnership could develop new knowledge and strategies for increasing absorption of funding for GI in an integrated manner. Cities could also be supported in greening their budgets. On one hand, this could be beneficial for the members and other cities across Europe, while it could also feed into the European Commission’s process of tailoring different financial instruments through place-based approaches, sensible to the needs of cities of different sizes.

Thematic focus

The proposed subthemes relevant to Greening cities are presented in Table 1, which also gives an overview of the state of play and thematic bottlenecks pertinent to each subtheme and links to EU policy frameworks.

T able 1 : S u b - th emes r el a t ed t o gre e n an d bl u e i nf r a struc t u r e; s t ate of pl a y a n d b o tt lenec k s; c ont r ib u t io n t o E U po li c y fr a m e w o r ks Sub - theme Current state of play Thematic bottlenecks vis - à - v i s t h e t h re e p i l l a r s o f the UAEU Contribution to EU policy T y p e s o f g re e n a n d b l u e infrastructure - T he s t a t e o f p l a y i s d i f f e r e n t f o r t he d i f f e r en t t y p e s o f GI. - Detailed map of urban green i n fr a s tr u c t u r e i s a k e y f o r i n f o r m ed de c i s i o n - m a k i ng . F e w c i t i e s m a k e u s e o f E u r o p ean w i de o r e v e n na t i ona l da t a s e t s f o r s u p po rt i ng l o c a l d e c i s i o n m a k i ng . (E n Ro u t e p r o j e c t) - - Scattered data exist on the uptake of individual s o l u t i o n s ( s ee r epo r t o n u r ba n ag r i c u l t u r e ) - Better knowledge - O ppo rt u n i t i e s e m b e dd e d i n t h e v a r i o u s EU financing instruments hav e n o t y e t bee n f u l l y e x p l o i t e d ( b e t t e r f un d i ng ) - Insufficient integration of GI in spatial planning (better regulation) - Detailed and locally collected spatial data are need e d t o i n t eg r a t e u r b an g r e en i n fr a s t r u c t u r e i n po l i c y ( b e t t e r k no w l edge and b e t t e r re gu l a t i o n ) EU Green Infrastructure Strategy EU Climate Change Strategy EU Biodiversity Strategy (incl. Urban Greening Plans) EU Forest Strategy EU water regulation Disaster and risk p r e v en t i o n Health and consumer po l i c i e s W a t e r F r a m e w o r k Directive (WF D) M a r i ne S t r a t e g y Framework Directive (MSFD) EU policy framework in ene r g y e f f i c i e n c y , bu i l t en v i r o n m en t , s u s t a i na b l e m ob i li t y , e t c . EU Mission: Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Exploring the benefits of G I i n a n ur b a n c o nt e x t: - Environment (habitats, c o n n e c t i v i t y , c l e a n a ir, e t c .) - Society (health, well - being, recreation, etc.) - Economy (tourism, job creation, livelihood, etc.) - M u l t i p l e p r o j e c t s and r epo r t s e x p l o r e i m p a c t s a n d b e ne f i t s o f d i f f e r e n t t y pe s o f G I on en v i r o n m e n t , s o c i e t y and e c o n o m y . - Demons trating the benefits of urban g r een i n fr a s tr u c t u r e r e q u i r e s l i n k i n g e c o s y s t e m d a t a w i t h s o c i o - e c o no m i c s t a t i s t i c s . (E n Ro u t e p r o j e c t) - M ee t i ng t a r g e t 2 o f EU B i o d i v e r s i t y Strategy and restoring Natura 2000 to favourable status could further gene r a t e r e s p e c ti v e l y u p t o 5 0 0 00 a nd 140 0 00 j ob s ; a n d u p t o EUR 4 . 2 a n d 11 . 1 b il l i o n o f d i r e c t o u t p u t s a n nua l l y ; a s w e ll a s a w i de r r ang e o f be ne f i t s from ecosystem services (COM:2019:236: FIN). - Benefits are difficult to quantify while costs are v i s i b l e ( b e t t e r k no w l ed g e ) - Insufficient knowledge on integrating green and b l ue i n fr a s tr u c t u r e d i m e n s i on s i n s t r a t e g i e s a n d p l a n s f o r S u s t a i n ab l e Ur ba n D e v e l op m en t and Integrated Territorial Investment Strategies (better funding) - Insufficient information on local level regarding b i o d i v e r s i t y w i t h i n c i t i e s ( b e t t e r k no w l ed g e ) Integration of green and blue infrastructure into other sectoral policies: - Built environment - Transport - Urban Agriculture - Energy - Health - Air - In many Member States, objectives or requirements specifically related to GI a r e i n c l u de d i n b r oa d e r b i od i v e r s i t y and n a t u r e c o n s e r v a t i on po l i c i e s a nd l eg i s l a t i o n (C O M : 2 019 : 2 36 : FI N) - Interviewed stakeholders have pointed a t s i gn i f i c an t m a r g i n s f o r i m p r o v e m en t - Insufficient Integration of different types of GI s o l u t i o n s i n t o l o c a l p l a n s , s e c t o r a l p l a n s regulations, etc. (better regulation - Insufficient scaling up of good practices of i n t e g r a t i o n o f G I i n t o s e c t o r a l p o li c i e s b e t t e r regulation - G I i s n o t w i de l y u s ed b y d e c i s i o n - m a k e r s a n d s t a k eh o l de r s a s a c o s t - e f f i c i e n t solution to health i s s ue s (C O M : 2019 : 2 36 : F IN) ( be t t e r k no w l ed g e ) - G ood p r a c t i c e s o n GI i n t r an s p o rt a r e s po r ad i c (COM: 2019:236:FIN) be t t e r k no w l edg e Implementation of green a n d b l u e i nfr a s tru c tur e : - Q u a l i t y o f d es i g n a n d a e s th e t i cs o f green public s p a c e s - Q u a l i t y o f implementation - Increasing number of cities a c k no w l edge t ha t t h e qua l i t y o f u r ba n s p a c e s a n d p l a c e s , i n c l ud i ng t he g r e en one s c o n tr i b u t e s f u nd a m en t a l l y t o o u r w e l l - be i ng and m a k e s c i t i e s m o r e beau t i f u l , i n c l u s i v e and s u s t a in ab l e . - - T he r e i s no s ys t e m a t i s ed i n f o r m a t i on o n t h e qua l i t y o f d i f f e r e n t t y p e s o f GI a c r o ss EU c i t i e s be t t e r k no w l ed g e - G I s o l u t i o n s a r e n o t u s ed t o t h e i r f u ll e x t e n t a n d their potential should be further strengthened at EU level (COM: 2019:236:FIN) better knowledge New Leipzig Charter EU GI Strategy EU Climate Change Strategy EU Biodiversity Strategy EU Forest Strategy EU Water regulation Disaster and risk p r e v en t i o n New European Bauhaus Renovation Wave Strategy


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National authorities

  • Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration, Coordinator (RO)
  • Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets (HR)
  • Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy of the Republic of Poland (PL)


  • Brussels Environment (BE)
  • Marshal’s Office of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship (PL)

Cities (Urban Authorities)

  • Nuovo Circondario Imolese, Coordinator (IT)
  • Roma Capitale (IT)
  • City of 's-Hertogenbosch, Department of Urban Development (NL)
  • City of Utrecht (NL)
  • City of Tampere (FI)
  • City of Ostrava (CZ)
  • City of Roeselare (BE)
  • Ādaži municipality (LV)
  • City Council of Pontevedra (Ayuntamiento de Pontevedra) (ES)
  • Lisbon Metropolitan Area (PT)

European/ national city umbrella organisation

  • Eurocities (BE)
  • European Investment Bank
  • Association of Urban Municipalities of Slovenia (SI)
  • European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN EGTC) (NL)

Other stakeholders

  • INCASÒL_ Catalan Land Institute (ES)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) / Environmental Engineering Laboratory (Enve-Lab) (rl)
  • JPI Urban Europe / DUT Partnership

European institution

  • European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, social affairs and inclusion (DG EMPL)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE)
  • European Commission DG Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (EAC)
  • European Commission Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI)
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC)


EUI-Innovative Actions 2nd Call for proposals

The EUI-Innovative Actions has released the 2nd Call for Proposals. Find out more about the Call and explore the topic of "Greening Cities".


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Portico is the European urban knowledge platform developed by the European Urban Initiative (EUI) in support of better urban policy and strategy design, implementation, and mainstreaming.

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