CLEVER Cities H2020

Current status \ Ongoing (June 2018 / May 2023)
Funding programme \ EU Horizon 2020
Project budget \ M€ 14,8 (Labsimurb budget € 135,000)

Keywords \ Co-creation, nature-based solutions NBS, urban resilience

CLEVER Cities: Co-designing Locally tailored Ecological solutions for Value added, socially inclusivE Regeneration in Cities

Project Overview

What is CLEVER Cities?
Hamburg (DE), London (UK) and Milan (IT) have decided to create CLEVER Cities.  CLEVER Cities applies a city-centric approach, starting by key urban regeneration challenges and employing strong local partner clusters, to foster sustainable and socially inclusive urban regeneration locally, in Europe and globally. The project will co-create, implement, and -manage locally tailored NBS to deliver tangible social, environmental and economic improvements in urban regeneration. It is committed to make the interventions in Front-runner cities (FR cities) cases for successful NBS and to prepare robust replication roadmaps in Fellow cities (FE cities), that have both NBS experience and expertise to offer. It will ensure long-term sustainability of actions in FR and FE cities by initiating innovation partnerships (Communities of Practice) that will use SMART city principles to engage residents, establish new governance procedures, and generate innovative financing and investment strategies. CLEVER Cities will employ partners’ well-established global networks to generate rapid and durable uptake of NBS using a CLEVER Solutions Basket with innovative technological, business, financing and governance solutions, in Europe and globally. The influential and committed FR Cities will serve as role model for FE and Global Cites in Asia and South America. All cities will actively engage in replication, thus, help to meet EU and UN sustainability goals, and profile the EU as global leader in green innovation. The city-centric nature of CLEVER Cities makes it a distinct and exiting project that will generate lasting results in cities, deliver a CLEVER Cities Package with solutions and guidance and contribute open-sourced information to the EU NBS Reference Framework.

Setting up Co-Creation for CLEVER Cities
Labsimurb research activities will focus on co-creation methods and best practices to spread nature-based-solutions on an urban scale. In particular, the work will aim to explore methods of co-creation, monitoring and management of “nature-based solutions” (NBS), i.e. technological and construction solutions based on the use of vegetation, in order to spread the applications on an urban scale. The case of application will be an area within the Municipality of Milan, and the project of co-creation and dissemination of NBS will refer to the entire city.

Team, partners and stakeholders

The co-creation design for the establishment of Clever Action Laboratories (CALs) is coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani, third party of Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, Comune di Milano, and with the support of the local cluster, in particular Eliante. For a complete list of the partners involved in the project, please refer to the project website.

Dastu Coordinator: Eugenio Morello, responsible for the co-creation design method team 
with Israa Mahmoud (team leader), and the consultancy of Giuseppe Salvia.
Research Structure: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti

Publications (see here

Mahmoud, I.H.; Morello, E.; Vona, C.; Benciolini, M.; Sejdullahu, I.; Trentin, M.; Pascual, K.H. Setting the Social Monitoring Framework for Nature-Based Solutions Impact: Methodological Approach and Pre-Greening Measurements in the Case Study from CLEVER Cities MilanSustainability 202113, 9672.

Mahmoud, I.H. Morello, E., Salvia, G., Ludlow, D., (2021). Co-creation pathways to inform shared governance of Urban Living Labs in practice: Lessons from three European projects. Journal of Frontiers in Sustainable Cities – “section of Governance and Cities”.  DOI: 3389/frsc.2021.690458

Mahmoud I., Morello E. (2021)Co-creation Pathway for Urban Nature-Based Solutions: Testing a Shared-Governance Approach in Three Cities and Nine Action Labs“. In: Bisello A., Vettorato D., Ludlow D., Baranzelli C. (eds) Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions. SSPCR 2019. Green Energy and Technology. Springer, Cham. 

Mahmoud I., Morello E., (2020), “Are Nature-based solutions the answer to urban sustainability dilemma? The case of CLEVER Cities CALs within the Milanese urban context”, in AA.VV. (eds.), Atti della XXII Conferenza Nazionale SIU. L’Urbanistica italiana di fronte all’Agenda 2030. Portare territori e comunità sulla strada della sostenibilità e della resilienza, Matera-Bari 5-7 giugno 2019, Planum Publisher, Roma-Milano, pp. 1322-1327.

Mahmoud I., Salvia G., Morello E., (2019). “Integrating NBS in cities through co-creation: a practical guidance for CLEVER Cities.” in European Climate Change Adaptation conference ECCA 2019, Lisbon, 28–31 May 2019 – extended abstract and Poster session 4 | Screen 4 | PO039 available at:  

Mahmoud I., Morello E., (2018). “Co-Creation Pathway as a catalyst for implementing Nature-based Solution in Urban Regeneration Strategies. Learning from CLEVER Cities framework and Milano as testbed”, in Moccia F. D. and Sepe M. (Eds.), Urbanistica Informazioni, Interruptions, Intersections, Sharing and Overlapping. New perspectives for the territory, 278, P204-210. ISSN: 0392-5005.

watch this youtube video to know more about CLEVER Cities (min 08.45)

News, outputs and other materials

Please refer to the project website where you will find the latest project updates. see all publications here 

Read about the Co-creation guidance on this website 
News on the official Clever Milano website

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Innovation action programme under grant agreement no. 776604.