Tilburg working on a cool city with a climate adaptation implementation agenda
Tilburg will also be faced with more extreme weather. Consequently, the municipality intends to gradually climate-proof the city in the years up to 2050. To achieve this goal, a climate adaptation implementation agenda has been drawn up.
How has the implementation agenda been developed?
As Tilburg is aiming for an implementation agenda that is supported by the widest possible range of individuals and organisations, the municipality has met with many different parties, such as district water boards, housing corporations, healthcare institutions, schools, museums, and businesses. Residents have also contributed ideas. For example, workshops have been organised, whose results have been incorporated into the implementation agenda. In addition, the municipality has conducted stress tests. The results of these tests enable the authorities to focus on the situations that are most urgent, in consultation with stakeholders. The municipality is striving to support and expedite the climate adaptation projects that are already underway.
What goals are set out in the implementation agenda?
The key goal is to green the city, the villages, and the rural areas. To this end, the municipality has defined six goals. It is not committing to achieving every goal, but the agenda does reflect the urgency of climate adaptation.
These are the six goals:
- The rural areas must become diverse, natural, and vital. This means, for example, that sufficient greenery must be provided on the outskirts of the city. Innovative entrepreneurs are helping to achieve this. The soil is healthy, and biodiversity is increasing. The Brabant Soil project is contributing to the efforts. This provincial-level project is aimed at, inter alia, enhancing the cultural and natural landscapes of the province of Brabant.
- A range of resilient green-blue structures will be created in the city, which will link up with the countryside. Examples include plants and trees lining the roads, and sufficient parks and water playgrounds.
- The municipality aims to create a cool living environment. This can be achieved, e.g., by replacing pavement on streets and roads with greenery wherever possible, and by providing ample shade in playgrounds. Residents can do their part by greening their gardens and collecting rainwater. The StreetNL project is fostering this goal by encouraging residents of densely paved neighbourhoods to contribute ideas on how to green their environment.
- With its new development projects, Tilburg aims to set an example for the future. Streets in new neighbourhoods will be as green as possible. Private gardens will also be green. In addition, the municipality is factoring in such climate risks as heat and waterlogging.
- Industrial estates will be climate proofed. This means, e.g., that green rooftops, green façades, and shady trees will keep business premises sufficiently cool during summer. In the Kraaiven & Vossenberg Green Deal project, entrepreneurs have joined forces to capitalise on opportunities in the fields of the circular economy, collective energy generation, climate adaptation, and biodiversity.
- Tilburg is encouraging climate awareness and cool behaviour, by involving entrepreneurs, residents, and other parties in the execution of its plans. Furthermore, Tilburg has identified the groups that are particularly vulnerable to, e.g., heat, and has defined ways to protect these groups during extreme weather. A project that ties in with this goal is the plan to set up a climate museum in the Spoorpark in Tilburg.
Examples of actions and measures
Tilburg is championing climate adaptation projects by providing financial support. The municipality has set up a subsidy scheme for planning greenery and a separate climate fund with a budget of 20 million euros. This fund is used, e.g., to co-finance the climate-proofing of the Fabriekskwartier district and 45 streets in Tilburg city centre. The “Kids and Teens Keep it Cool’ project intends to actively involve children and young people in climate-proofing the city. The three-year “1000 Blue Gardens” project aims to disconnect as many downspouts and green as many gardens as possible.
How are the results being monitored?
In terms of monitoring the impact of climate measures, not much is happening yet at the national level. However, the municipality of Tilburg is determined to focus structural attention on this topic. Several guidelines have been set down, based on policy regulations. An example of such a guideline is that planning a cool pedestrian route requires a minimum of forty per cent shade in a street. Finally, the municipality can review stress tests, coolness maps, and heat maps once every so often.
Lessons to be learned
Tilburg has opted for drawing up its implementation agenda in collaboration with other parties and organisations. Such a process involves differences in speed and ambition. The municipality has learned to acknowledge such differences, in order to allow everyone to participate in the transition in their own way and at their own speed.