Upcoming EU funded research and innovation project – VARCITIES  

May 4, 2020

ISOCARP Institute is glad to announce that the European Commission has signed the grant agreement for the EU funded project VARCITIES. ISOCARP Institute is part of the consortium which will implement the project, starting from September 2020 until February 2025, together with other 24 partners and under the lead of Telecommunication System Institute (TSI).
VARCITIES aims at designing visionary nature-based actions for health, well-being and resilience in cities. The project confirms and renews ISOCARP’s vision of promoting inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities, through integrative and participatory processes. Moreover, VARCITIES supports ISOCARP’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to good health, wellbeing and sustainable communities. 

VARCITIES – Visionary Nature-based Actions for Health, Well-being and Resilience in Cities   

In an increasingly urbanising world, governments and international corporations strive to increase productivity of cities, recognized as economy growth hubs, as well as ensuring better quality of life and living conditions to citizens. Although significant effort is performed by international organisations, researchers, etc. to transform the challenges of cities into opportunities, the visions of our urban future are trending towards bleak. The increase in urban population is already intensifying the pressure on urban services and facilities, as well as on nature and ecosystems, significantly affecting the liveability of contemporary cities. Air pollution and heat island effect are just two of the most evident impacts of the climate crisis we have started to live. These impacts will more and more negatively affect social and health facilities, whose responsiveness and efficiency is more than ever crucial in time of pandemic crisis like in 2020. 
The vision of VARCITIES is to implement real, visionary ideas and add value by establishing sustainable models for increasing health and wellbeing of citizens (children, young people, middle age, elderly) that are exposed to diverse climatic conditions and challenges around Europe. The ambitious foundation of VARCITIES lies in the close interrelation of sustainability, public health and digital innovation in order to make cities more liveable and welcoming; shared public spaces are pointed out are the privileged areas where to explore this integration, and ultimately to foster the evolution towards fully “human-centred cities”. 

The specific objectives of the project are: 

• To desing visionary nature-based solutions which contribute to the shaping of future cities and the wellbeing of citizens in eight European cities. 

• To monitor and assess the sustainability and impact of interventions through advancing and developing new KPI indicators for health and well-being. 

• To improve the sustainable transition to smart and future cities by creating a framework of locally adapted GBF (Governance, Business, Financing) models.  

• To include, in the co-design process, various stakeholders and inspire sustainable and resilient future smart cities.  

• To achieve knowledge exchange, maximization of EU investments, advancement beyond the state of art through clustering with other European initiatives and platforms.  

• To transfer, upscale and sustain best practices from VARCITIES through the development of a Healthy Cities Helix.

The configuration of the project sees the development of eight applied exemplar pilots (eight European municipalities from different geographic and climate zones). The pilots will implement integrated initiatives which support both municipal actions and local SMEs in meeting credible opportunities to grow and generate revenues. The eight pilot cities are: Bergen (Norway), Castelfranco Veneto (Italy), Chania (Greece), Dundalk (Ireland), Gzira (Malta), Leuven (Belgium), Novo Mesto (Slovenia) and Skellefteå (Sweden). 





VARCITIES is an ambitious project that acknowledges the complexity and the challenges of future cities and sets the ambitious target to advance innovation across different urban scales by fully exploiting nature-based solutions from a digital, social and cultural perspective. VARCITIES envisions future public spaces as people-centred areas that support creativity, inclusivity, health and happiness for the citizens.  



This project will receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. Call H2020-SC5-2018-19-20 Greening the economy, under grant agreement No 86950.


Do not hesitate to contact us for any question or further information.


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