Impact project: collaboration on climate-smart urbanisation

Climate-smart urbanisation can be achieved! This impact project shows how, in three cities: from solutions via collaboration to contracting. Measures to combat heat stress and waterlogging have been assessed at three levels: the area, the buildings, and public space.

How can climate adaptation be realised? This question was addressed during this impact project, covering three municipalities: Rotterdam, Tilburg, and Zwolle. Each municipality placed its own emphasis in the impact project. In Rotterdam, the project assessed the design of area developments: What are good climate-smart solutions? In Tilburg, the focus was on the dialogue with stakeholders: How do you collectively gain insights and generate a collective view on the tasking? In Zwolle, the project revolved around collaboration, tendering, and contracting: How do you make agreements and regulate their implementation? These three projects complement one another and provide a complete picture of climate-smart design, development, and tendering.

The Hart van Zuid area in Rotterdam is going to be redeveloped; the implementation plans are being drawn up. The findings from the impact project mainly involve suggestions and can be applied to components of the redevelopment. In Tilburg, the results of the study have been used as input for the dialogue with stakeholders regarding the design of the Koningsplein – Paleisring – connection to the Pius port area. In the Stationsplein – Assendorp Zwolle case, the focus was particularly on collaboration, tendering, contracting, and criteria for climate-smart commissioning.

Main outcomes of the study

The study has shown that taking expertise on climate-smart adaptation into account in area developments will result in better designs. Heat stress is hardly being considered in designs. In Rotterdam, the findings have constituted reason for reviewing the design. One option is the construction of a comprehensive, circular water system. Furthermore, a climate-smart development of the Hart van Zuid area is now being considered.

In Tilburg, the dialogue on climate-smart design has led to the realisation that the annual funfair can well be combined with the realisation of cool spots. Furthermore, it has become clear that a water connection featuring small boats in Koopvaardijstraat will only have a very slight cooling effect. An alternative design has been compiled for the area.

“On the basis of these criteria, we should be able to realise a cool spot in the city centre, whilst also leaving room for the fair.” – Project leader, municipality of Tilburg

In Zwolle, a great deal of expertise was shared on contracting and tendering. Paying attention to climate-smart area development in an early stage is of primary importance. As each situation is different, working with a single system of area development standards does not make sense; customisation is advisable.

“When drawing up tendering regulations, link ‘encouragement’ to raising urgency by stating that in the future, this will be the rule.” – Project leader, municipality of Zwolle

The final report on the impact project (pdf, 6.7 MB) features examples of linkage opportunities, of thinking from the perspective of value creation, and of the distinction between encouraging and enforcing.

Lessons to be learned

  • Tackling waterlogging or heat stress is still quite far from being integrated into area developments. The impact project covered three “square – street” situations in city centres. Area developers were found to still know little about preventing heat stress. The analysis, examples, and solutions provided by the impact project were embraced wholeheartedly, as were the suggestions, examples, and measures relating to waterlogging.
  • Three-dimensional thinking (public space, façades, and rooftops) about climate-smart urbanisation provides added value in area developments. In some cases, water storage or heat measures are being considered for individual buildings, squares or streets, yet not in an interconnected manner. The indoor environment of buildings is not always taken into consideration either. Yet it is important to cover all such aspects in area developments.
  • In Zwolle, the various forms of contracting were tabled. On the one hand, the municipality was eager to utilise the expertise commanded by private parties – in which case working in construction teams would be a solution – yet on the other hand, some municipalities are well aware of the needs and would be better off by enforcing strict requirements.
  • An interesting topic for a subsequent study would be the identification of opportunities for linkage with climate adaptation.

Contact person

Antoinette van Heijningen
06 - 34195665

Project type
Impact Project
Gemeenten Rotterdam, Tilburg, Zwolle, provincie Noord-Brabant, Staatsbosbeheer, Heijmans, Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HVA) & Watertorenberaad
District / neighborhood
Heat, Waterlogging