GRaBS – Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns

Background and Goals

Cities and urbanized areas are subject to permanent changes, which are controlled, among other things, by spatial planning and development. The effects of climate change are already visible and will continue to have a very strong influence on the urban environment in future. This fact must be taken into account in all planning activities.

The GRaBS project (Green and Blue Space adaptation for urban areas and Eco Towns) stands for the adaptation of the so-called "green and blue infrastructure" in metropolitan areas. Green infrastructure including gardens, parks, productive landscapes, green corridors, green roofs and walls and blue infrastructure such as water bodies, rivers, streams, floodplains and sustainable drainage systems, play a vital role in creating climate resilient development.

The project supports cities and regions in the areas of innovation, nature conservation, risk management, and knowledge economy by maintaining a database of case studies on climate change adaptation measures. In-depth analyses have been carried out for 15 case studies. Within the framework of the project, an Internet tool was developed for assessing climate change risks and vulnerabilities, such as flooding, drought or storms.

The main objective is to improve regional decisions and political processes for planning and developing new and existing urban areas in the face of climate change.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Slovakia
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Berlin
Natural spatial classification
  • Alp and North Bavarian hills
  • North-East German lowland
Spatial resolution 

Toronto, Stuttgart, Seattle, New Orleans, Faenzer, Italien, Dorset, Augustenborg, Malmö, North West England, Basel, Chicago, London Borough of Sutton

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

IPCC emission scenarios A2 and B2; the regional climate model WETTREG will be used for the German case studies in Berlin and Stuttgart; the resulting climate change maps are shown in the "Adaptation Action Planning Toolkit";

Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Heat waves
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
Further times 

for 2080

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Temperatures in the cities will rise and the number of summer days, as well as the number of hot days in the summer, will grow significantly. In addition, the increased frequency of flooding incidents due to heavy precipitation also play an important role in urban areas.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

A risk and vulnerability assessment tool was developed for assessing the climate change effects and hazards (e.g. flooding, drought or storms) on central infrastructures (e.g., airports), the general population and the cities. A detailed analysis of the adaptive capacity was not made. Vulnerability is accordingly addressed in terms of the susceptibility of risk elements (e.g., people, buildings, green areas) to climate hazards.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

The project partners have developed an "Adaptation Action Plan" (AAP for short) for the case study areas. The task of the AAP is to safeguard a liveable and intact urban landscape in each case, which can continue to maintain its functions under changed climatic conditions.

Furthermore, a guide was developed on how to integrate the green and blue infrastructures in urban spatial planning.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the INTERREG IVC programme

Project management 

Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), Great Britain


University of Manchester, Great Britain;

London Borough of Sutton, Great Britain;

Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Great Britain;

Southampton City Council, Great Britain;

Provincial Government of Styria, Austria;

Municipality of Kalamaria, Greece;

Klaipeda University Coastal Research and Planning Institute (CORPI), Lithuania;

The Amsterdam City District of Nieuw-West, Netherlands;

Regional Environment Centre for Eastern Europe, Slovakia;

Etnambiente SRL, Italy; University of Catania, Italy;

Province of Genoa, Italy;

City of Malmö, Sweden


Town and Country Planning Association
17 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AS

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Fields of action:
 biological diversity  spatial planning, urban and settlement development  transport and transport infrastructure  water regime and water management