Urban ReLeaf

Citizen-powered data ecosystems for inclusive and green urban transitions

2023 - 2026

Urban ReLeaf delivers citizen-powered data ecosystems to support cross-sectoral innovation and political agenda setting for climate change adaptation and green infrastructure planning in urban environments.

Nature-based Solutions, such as the expansion of urban greenspace and planting of trees, can provide cooling effects, decrease air pollution, and improve mental health, among other ecosystem services and health-related benefits. Various ambitious initiatives support this movement, e.g., the pledge to plant 3 billion trees in the EU as part of the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030, the European Green Deal, the BiodiverCities project and the Green City Accord. At the same time, public authorities are challenged with finite resources to collect suitable data to inform their decision making.

To address this challenge, Urban ReLeaf will co-create citizen-powered data ecosystems to support climate change adaptation, green infrastructure, and urban design planning. Such Citizen Observatories focus on collective action, combining Earth Observation technologies with community-based environmental monitoring for delivering new data/information systems.

At the heart of Urban ReLeaf’s action- and mission-oriented approach are public authorities and established communities and citizen groups in six pioneering Urban ReLeaf cities: Athens, Dundee, Utrecht, Cascais, Mannheim and Riga. Each city has outlined substantial opportunities for citizen-centric innovation paving the way for improved, participatory, and data-driven decision making.

Urban ReLeaf emphasises critical information gaps and barriers to urban greening efforts and delivers a series of civic engagement and monitoring campaigns to overcome the gaps, and offering protocols for the uptake, validation, and long-term inclusion of citizen-powered data into authoritative data streams. The project tackles local issues of public interest and contributes to European and global policies, while strengthening EU environmental monitoring mechanisms such as Copernicus and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

The project will showcase the democratisation of urban greenspace monitoring and the wider policy making process for cities in pursuit of urban climate resilience. The Urban ReLeaf data ecosystem and associated governance models will deliver new, inclusive pathways in support of the European Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goals keeping cities resilient, liveable, and accessible for all.