PLUS Change 1st General Assembly

PLUS Change 1st General Assembly

This May 2024, our PLUS Change team joined the other 22 project partners for the 1st General Assembly in Brussels, Belgium.

As the first year of the PLUS Change project concludes, all partners gathered for three days to participate in workshops, interactive sessions, presentations and discussions to review the project’s progress and collectively discuss the vision for the upcoming years. Representatives had the opportunity to exchange on stakeholder engagement, common challenges, and innovative ideas for the project’s co-creation process, with the goal of implementing democratic and equitable decision-making.

The ISOCARP Institute held a presentation on the project’s Communication and Dissemination activities, focusing on the key target audiences of PLUS Change and highlighting the importance of sharing project results.

To find out more, read the full press release here.

UK Urban Retrofit

New project announcement: Urban Retrofit UK

New project announcement:
Urban Retrofit UK

The ISOCARP Institute is thrilled to announce that we will be part of the team working on the project Urban Retrofit UK in partnership with the University of Glasgow and UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE)!

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation), the project will investigate how cities can be planned and ‘retrofitted’ for net-zero living, as well as conduct research on place-based approaches to an environmentally sustainable future, providing evidence to support local and national decision making.

The ISOCARP Institute will support capacity-building and lesson-sharing as part of the international Urban Retrofit Hubs network. These hubs will disseminate the results of the project’s research, including solutions that will bolster place-based resilience and a toolkit designed to close the implementation gap between national policy and local delivery.

Find more information about the project here.

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ISOCARP Institute at the Helix Event in Castelfranco Veneto

ISOCARP Institute at the Helix Event in Castelfranco Veneto

On the 6th and 7th of June 2024, we had the pleasure of participating in the event organized in Castelfranco Veneto by VARCITIES partners CrowdHelix and the Municipality of Castelfranco Veneto, with the support of E2ARC, Inlecom and University of Padova. The event, “Unlocking the Power of Nature-Based Innovation” was held in the beautiful Villa Bolasco, a 500-year-old historical garden and villa, now maintained by the University of Padova for public and scientific use.

Together with the different partners of VARCITIES and stakeholders from the area, we engaged in conversations about the transformative power of nature-based solutions, the importance of transdisciplinary approaches, and the significance of enhancing health and wellbeing in urban planning.

The event concluded with a call for co-creation at multiple levels – urban, environmental, social, and administrative. This marks a significant step forward in leveraging our project results related to nature-based innovation to create healthier, more resilient urban environments beyond our seven pilots!


New project announcement: SPADES

SPADES (Spatial Planning And DEsign with Soil)

We are proud to announce our participation in SPADES (Spatial Planning And DEsign with Soil), a new research project funded by the EU research and innovation framework programme for 21-27, Horizon Europe. A key project under the EU Mission A Soil Deal for Europe, SPADES will strive to integrate soil considerations into the planning practice across Europe. As one of the core partners of the project, our role will be to lead research activities to evaluate the potential of soil in spatial strategies, compiling inventories of practices for soil assessment and soil integration. We will also contribute to the uptake of best practices by the planning and design sector.

SPADES will enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of planning practices, directly echoing our mission of upholding professional excellence in planning and advancing sustainable planning practices.

We, the ISOCARP Institute, will strive to increase awareness at the global stage of the importance of soil in spatial planning. We are convinced that the new knowledge and tools developed by SPADES will benefit planners worldwide.

Stay tuned for more information as the project kicks off in the last quarter of 2024!


JUSTNature 5th Consortium Meeting

JUSTNature 5th Consortium Meeting


This month, the ISOCARP Institute attended JUSTNature’s 5th Project Meeting and 3rd Collaborative CiPeL Workshop in the cities of Bolzano & Merano, Italy. Between April 9th and 11th, we joined representatives from seven cities and thirteen partner organisations to collectively review the progress made since the last Consortium Meeting and exchange on common challenges in the upcoming months. The meeting focused on innovative practices and the best ways to exploit key results.

We concurrently visited Merano’s pilot site, the Garden for All, where the City Practice Lab has planned its nature-based intervention, product of a participatory process carried out with local residents and stakeholders.

Find the event’s press release here, and visit JUSTNature’s website for more updates.


VARCITIES 7th Progress Meeting

VARCITIES 7th Progress Meeting

The ISOCARP Institute recently participated in the 7th progress meeting of VARCITIES, held in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. We joined representatives from the seven cities and 17 organizations to compose VARCITIES consortium to review the project’s progress and discuss the implementation of 29 innovative solutions across the 7 pilot sites. The meeting, which took place on March 7th and 8th, featured productive discussions on the co-implementation of Visionary Solutions in the pilot cities, with significant progress in the implementation of these solutions, particularly in Skellefteå (Sweden) and Novo Mesto (Slovenia), where solutions are now fully operational, offering direct health and well-being benefits to users.

Together with our partners, we had the opportunity to explore Novo Mesto’s Pilot site, the recreational area of Češča Vas, witnessing firsthand the successful development strategy of the municipality and the operational Visionary Solutions in the area, for a healthier, greener city.

Looking ahead, we anticipate continued collaboration for the last phase of the VARCITIES with the ramping up of co-evaluation and replication activities.

For more information on VARCITIES, please visit: https://varcities.eu/

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Open Call: Seeking Applicants for the PLUS Change Ambassadors of Change programme

Open Call: Seeking Applicants for the PLUS Change Ambassadors of Change programme

PLUS Change is looking for 15 candidates from different cultural and professional backgrounds to join our Ambassadors of Change programme. Selected Ambassadors will contribute to discussions on equitable land use, representing the interests of groups that are often excluded from or underrepresented in land use planning and decision making. By joining PLUS Change as an Ambassador, you can have a voice in helping to build a more equitable, sustainable future!

About the project

PLUS Change: Planning Land Use Strategies: Meeting biodiversity, climate and social objectives in a changing world is funded by the Horizon Europe programme and aims to develop strategies and decision-making processes for land use that address challenges related to climate change, biodiversity, and human well-being. In the project, we consider all types of land use (urban, peri-urban, and rural), including agriculture, industry, urban, and nature.

We bring together diverse stakeholders, working with 12 practice cases from across Europe. In these cases, we explore challenging land use topics, and create plans and strategies for creating sustainable land use futures.

Throughout the project, we adopt a social perspective to understand how values, knowledge, governance, power, and roles of different actors interact to influence land use decisions. We strive to recognise the diverse needs and values associated with land use, considering the consequences of effective interventions and good governance. We are producing a range of tools and interventions to shape how land use decisions are made, by citizens, planners and policy makers. Throughout the project, we have a commitment to justice and equity for sustainability.

About the Ambassador role

Land use and land use change affect everyone. As individuals and communities, our unique priorities, needs and wishes shape the kinds of land use futures we want and need. Not everyone currently has an equal voice in land use decision making, and PLUS Change Ambassadors work to ensure that we consider marginalised voices in our project. These voices will act as a link between their own under-represented communities or interest groups and the activities of the PLUS Change project.

As an ambassador, you will help the project to better understand issues that are important to your community/interest group so that we can address them in project decision making and activities. You will also provide feedback on relevant results and outputs from the project, especially when they are of use to your community/interest group.

Ambassadors will undergo an introductory period in the project, where we will jointly develop a plan for how we will work together, to match the community/interest group you represent. This plan will be mindful of practical constraints and your own priorities, as well as those of the project. Activities might include:

  1. Participation in project meetings and/or visits to practice cases.
  2. Representing project activities and results to your own community/interest group through e.g. seminars, presentations, workshops (as appropriate)
  3. Input to, or review of, emerging project outputs to consider the extent to which your community/interest group is represented.
  4. Advising on, or participating in, dissemination and communication of project progress and results to a broad audience.
  5. Offering guidance or advice as to how the project addresses issues of equity and justice in land use planning to meet climate, biodiversity and wellbeing goals.

Who is an Ambassador?

  1. Ambassadors are people who can represent a community or interest group that is often underrepresented in land use decision making in Europe. This may include (but is not limited to), people who are marginalised based on race, gender, age, location.
  2. Ambassadors do not have to be land use professionals or have backgrounds in the topics we cover.
  3. Ambassadors are ideally already working in an organisation, or part of a club or group, that they can represent in the project. This could include NGOs, associations, hobby-based groups, community organisations, and student organisations.
  4. Ambassadors need to be good communicators in English in order to participate in the project. They must also speak the language(s) of the community/interest group they will represent.


  1. Ideally, ambassadors will join the project in Autumn 2024 and accompany the project through to the summer of 2026.
  2. Each ambassador will receive an honorarium of 3000 Euro to cover their time and (minimal) expenses associated with the role.
  3. Ambassadors will be welcomed into project activities and trainings, and are encouraged to use their connections with the project and partners in ways that benefit their own communities/interest groups.

To apply

We are accepting expressions of interest in joining as an Ambassador on an open basis, until all 15 positions are filled. To be considered for an Ambassador role, please send an email to Prof. Julia Leventon (Coordinator of the PLUS Change project and Head of Department of Human Dimensions by The Institute of Global Change Research of the Czech Academy of Science), at pluschange@czechglobe.cz  Include information about what community/interest group you represent, who you are, and where you are based (your town and country). Please indicate if you are a member of, or work for, a formal organisation or group that you will represent as an Ambassador.

We anticipate filling all roles towards April 2024, and would welcome your expression of interest by then.

In case of questions, please contact Prof. Julia Leventon, as above


+CityxChange Final Conference has concluded

+CityxChange Final Conference has concluded!

On 3-5 October 2023, A series of insightful sessions on the future of Positive Energy Districts and communities were presented at +CityxChange Final Conference in Trondheim, Norway.

During the event project partners shared implementation experiences and lessons learned from the project around 3 themes of Positive Energy Districts: (1) Enabling a common energy market, (2)Creating connected communities, and (3)Recommendations for new policy interventions, market regulations and business models.

  • After months of hard work (based on 5 years of experiences, numerous lessons learned, and of course, many challenges) the +CityxChange final report “How to PED” cookbook was completed. It contains experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations gained throughout the 5 years of the +CityxChange EU Horizon 2020 project, specifically focused on the variety of activities necessary to design and build Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) in smart sustainable cities and communities. Over the course of the book it drawn on the experiences and joint efforts of the 2 Lighthouse Cities, 5 Follower Cities, and 26 other partners, to demonstrate what it takes to build a PED.
  • The +CxC project shows the importance of collaboration and co-creation, involving the right people, designing effective pathways for change, deploying strong partnerships and financing, adapting to existing processes or building new ones, developing impactful strategies, building new systems and services, and creating new infrastructure in PED projects.
  • The cookbook represents the processes and results of +CityxChange, where all partners and stakeholders contribute with their own recipes & flavours. Just as in real life, recipes often need adjustment to taste. There is no single way to build a PED, so these recipes from our cities provide guidance through the complexities of the journey and share key information that help initiate and smoothen the processes.
Taliah Dommerholt and Samir Amin, Project managers at ISOCARP Institute participated in the +CityxChange Final Conference, and closed this long journey of the project on behalf of ISOCARP Institute.  

Thank you to everyone who participated in the +CityxChange Project. 

You can download the ‘How to PED’ cookbook here

PReSS ReLease 4th progress meeting in leuven, belgium (1)

4th JUSTNature Consortium Meeting

4th JUSTNature Consortium Meeting!

On 10-13 October 2023, Representatives from the 7 cities and 13 organisations that compose the JUSTNature consortium met in person at De Romaanse Poort of Leuven to share experiences and discuss in the 2nd Collaborative CiPeL Workshop, and to review the progress made and the way ahead, especially in light of the review meeting with the Research Executive Agency. As the project transitions into its third year, it now sets its sights on the second phase, which is focused on the implementation of the innovative practices and the dissemination and exploitation of results.

Tannya Pico, Project manager and Methi Laithavewat, Communication manager  at ISOCARP Institute participated in the project meeting in Leuven, Belgium, and presented ongoing communication and dissemination activities, Twinning City activities, and research results on Co-governance indicators and Nature-building communities aiming to establish local coalitions to ensure the ongoing benefits, impact, and maintenance of interventions beyond the project’s duration.

Stay tuned for more updates! And check out the Press Release to discover more about the project.


6th VARCITIES Consortium Meeting

6th VARCITIES Consortium Meeting!

On 14-15 September 2023, the VARCITIES project partners met at the Town Hall of Leuven in Belgium to review the progress made in the project over the past six months and discuss the implementation of the different visionary solutions developed in VARCITIES’ seven Pilots. This September, the project enters its fourth year!

As the project matures and interventions move from implementation to assessing the impacts of nature-based solutions, it is a moment to discuss and generate ideas for implementing the co-evaluation process.

Highlighted Yoann Clouet, Project manager at ISOCARP Institute, who participated in the project meeting in Leuven, Belgium, presented ongoing communication and dissemination activities and planned to ramp up event participation and dissemination towards specific target audiences. Especially with the ICT components of the project going live soon.

Stay tuned for more updates! And check out the Press Release to discover more about the project.