The TURAS project started with a very simple question – how to get a small amount of funding for a community garden in Dublin city. This question passed through several minds, a couple of coffee discussions, many emails and phone calls, and then numerous proposal drafts. After a long process of edits and the co-creation of ideas a proposal was sent for evaluation to DG Research and Demonstration (now DG Research and Innovation) in the European Commission. Along the way, it generated interest and commitment among 30 different partner organisations in 11 cities or city regions (Aalborg, Brussels, Dublin City Council, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Ljubljana, Málaga, Nottingham, Rome, Rotterdam, Sofia, and the Verband Region Stuttgart).

This process culminated in an extremely large and ambitious project launched in October 2011 and officially ending at the end of September 2016. At the heart of this project was the desire to co-create working links between different agencies involved in city-making, with communities at the centre. In the end, TURAS devised over 80 different novel ideas and processes that would enable communities to transition to a more resilient future. These results are currently accessible from the TURAS website and in the future will be accessible from Oppla -a new knowledge marketplace where the latest thinking on ecosystem services, natural capital and nature-based solutions is brought together.
Although the EU investment in TURAS has ended, the next step of the journey has already begun and with unwavering commitment from the partners, communities and companies, we look forward to a better future.


Most global challenges have arisen directly or indirectly because of urbanisation. Cities suffer from internal and external challenges and are probably the number one contributor of greenhouse gasses (directly and indirectly). Cities are growing in size and scale globally. Most humans live in cities, and many more are highly influenced by or dependent upon cities and urban growth. From today, almost all children born on Earth will be urbanised at some stage in their lives – the city will play a key role in their personal development, education, employment, the technology they use, and the geopolitical politics of where they live. The cities of the future will not be used for the same reasons for which they were originally constructed and technology will guide and perhaps define future city growth. Throughout the process of change, of new growth, urban communities will be continually challenged to respond. This is where resilience comes into the picture. Resilience is the ability of people to respond to change and to find opportunity in it. The most resilient cities will be those where their populations are the most adaptable and creative; where consensus and co-design will overcome the pervasive and complex challenges of climate change, population change and migration, economic unease, and social and political transformation. Thus there is a need for a step change in how humans make and maintain cities.
At the heart of the TURAS project there was a desire to create working links between different agencies involved in city-making, with communities at the centre.


TURAS began by developing a framework and process for developing and using a geospatial information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure at sub-city / neighbourhood scale, featuring relevant contextual as well as project-specific data. In the next phase, case study data were used to develop and test new approaches to build increased urban resilience and reduce the urban ecological footprint of each participating city. Diagram 1 illustrates the connectivity of the different approaches to building urban resilience, which TURAS developed and how the work packages interact together. The final phase of TURAS involved the demonstration, dissemination and exploitation of results.

methodology Typology illustrating the six principal RTD work packages of the TURAS Project. All six are interconnected and inter-reliant with each other, and the ultimate focus was to establish mechanisms for building resilience into urban planning and design through integrated transition strategies (Work Package 7).

Work Packages & Results

WP1 - Geospatial ICT – Support Infrastructure for Urban Resilience

Leader: Prof. Zorica Nedović Budić Typology: RTD

Work package 1 was the foundation for the TURAS project and created a web interface for public to access the data and tools that are used and developed within other work packages. The data available provided insights on urban economy, energy, sprawl, green infrastructure, regeneration and urban design. This package sought first to facilitate communication and interaction amongst project partners (academic, local authority, SME and the wider community) in addressing the project challenges. Internet-based tools were developed for implementation in the project case study areas within the TURAS cities and urban regions. This new interface was a key functioning part of the TURAS project website, and was accessible to the public for testing and validation on an ongoing basis. The web-based G-ICT tool was linked to the local authorities’ websites in those cities or urban regions and was developed in close cooperation with the other TURAS work packages, based on their local case study context and methodological approaches. This work package was divided into two stages. Stage 1 was the development of a WebGIS database with general as well as specific case study data. Stage 2 was the provision of tools to support much better community engagement. This resulted in a live WebGIS for most of the TURAS case study cities as well as an interactive ‘geowiki’, where the public and urban communities were invited to upload their own information. The work package 1 research team, together with Future Analytics and the University of Taichung with SkyEyes (both in Taiwan), worked with other work packages to further develop these tools. These include a crowd-sourced web mapping application for vacant sites, a ‘geotimeline’ for community capacity and a Twitter geospatial analytics dashboard for green infrastructure. A final output was the ‘Resilience Dashboard; a multifunctional dashboard where the tools and data are integrated to support smart resilience planning and decision-making. This work package produced two deliverables (1.1 and 1.2).

WP2 - Greening Public and Private Green Infrastructure

Leader: Darryl Newport Typology: RTD

Generate a universal evaluation model for assessing the drivers and barriers to urban green infrastructure restoration.
Design and establish field experiments investigating state-of-the-art technology and processes to maximise the biodiversity and economic value of roof-level green infrastructure
Develop and evaluate a design protocol for incorporating art, creativity and regional habitat characteristics into landscape design for maximising the biodiversity and economic value of green walls and of roof-level green infrastructure.
Pilot test design tools disseminating from field experiments at the case study area of the Barking Riverside Development in East London. Ongoing measurement and monitoring of results.
Based on WP2 results, develop visions, feasible strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools that would enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change in green infrastructure design throughout the TURaS project network and in non participating cities.

WP3 - Urban/Industrial Regeneration, Land Use planning and Creative Design

Leader: Karen Foley Typology: RTD

Can abandoned sites, used and unused, make cities and urban communities more resilient? WP3 has as its goal the aim of developing transition strategies and scenarios that will enable cities to improve planning. To address urban industrial regeneration challenges requires the incorporation of creative design. WP3 also is progressing in line with the TURAS programme and held a series of informative and enlightening meetings and site visits to case study locations in Dublin, London and Nottingham. There is a huge amount of information, much of it hidden away in reports and old documents, so much of the operation of the WP has been devoted to building research capacity among the partners. It has also carefully selected differing sites and urban issues, necessitating numerous visits and communications with sometimes difficult to access urban authorities. So far, the ongoing extensive and comprehensive literature review has shown an increase in awareness of the necessity of the integration of resilience into mainstream planning and design. Many similarities between cities have been discovered and there have also been some disconnects identified between policies and actions, which is a prime motivator for this work package. A high number of papers and presentations have been given in both academic and public settings, broadening the awareness of TURAS and of the aims of WP3 as well.

WP4 - Climate change Resilient City Planning and Climate-Neutral Infrastructure

Leader: Jeroen Aerts Typology: RTD

Research, development and testing/modelling of new approaches to urban planning and adaptation to flood risk.
Urban planning support through development and testing of new land use models.
Development and testing of new rain water management ecosystem services.
Development and testing/modelling of new approaches to improve climate-neutral infrastructure.
Development and testing/modelling of new approaches to improve climate-neutral infrastructure for energy using RES.
Integrate outcomes of individual RTD elements to propose a new integrated approach to climate change resilient city planning and the development of climate-neutral infrastructure;
Develop visions, feasible strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools that would enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change in Climate change Resilient City Planning and Climate-Neutral Infrastructure throughout the TURaS project network and in non participating cities.

WP5 - Limiting Urban Sprawl

Leader: Aleksandar Slaev Typology: RTD

Survey of city residents preferences, attitudes and motives
Survey of planning documents
Application of MOLAND information technology
Market Analysis
Study of the role and efficiency of nodes in a polycentric urban system
Preparation of planning and development regulations concerning peripheral territories;
Development of monitoring and assessment tools
Evaluation of short-term (first) results
Develop visions, feasible strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools that would enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change in limiting urban sprawl throughout the TURaS project network and in non participating cities.

WP6 - Short-Circuit Economies

Leader: Patrick Van Den Abeele Typology: RTD

  • October 2015
    TURAS partners, Brussels Environment and ULB were invited by the municipality of Malaga on the 8th of october to present the PSS toolkit during a workshop and test the approach on generating ideas ofpotential business activities for different areas of the city.
  • May 2015

TURAS partners, BicLazio, the City of Rome, Brussels Environment, Free University of Brussels will organize a special two days’ workshop in Rome during mid-June to formulate a vision on the conversion of the Parco Agricolo Casal del Marmo (an area covering 378ha entirely earmarked as agricultural land). The parco situated on the border with the periphery of metropolitan Rome. The project is concerned with improving the use of periurban space, and in particular with converting underused periurban land for the creation of community-based food systems.

The TURAS partners will test an innovative methodology based on a curatorial approach which can be applied for complex projects that rely on multi-stakeholder coproduction. In addition to a call of interest for the participation of stakeholders in the local community, a call for application for the participation of international experts from different areas of expertise has been launched.

  • January 2015

WP6 announces a special workshop during the conference Resilient Cities : novel tools for local authorities on the 13th of January* — New approaches to building resilient local economies

This workshop will focus on the challenges and opportunities of developing alternative economic models that promote sustainable and resilient business opportunities in urban areas where real estate pressure is high. The two SREAL case studies in Brussels and Rome will be presented, sharing progress, lessons learned and inviting discussion on the next stage in developing useful, replicable tools for other European cities.

Sustainable urban agriculture in the Rome Metropolitan Area :

In this session you will hear Mr Luca Polizzano, from BIC Lazio, describe how, over the past 15 years, he and colleagues have harnessed European funding to support the development of an innovative regional food network. This network is aiming to harness the local opportunities to produce high value, sustainable agricultural products and services by encouraging a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs to embrace the food sector as a sustainable and resilient business opportunity. Mr Polizzano will briefly describe how the project has evolved, what the current challenges are, and the collective vision for the future held by the local business sector and the municipality.

Sustainable economic revitalisation of underused real estate in Brussels

We will hear from Mr Dries Vanneste from the Brussels based agency Entrakt on how a co-creation between Entrakt, the Municipality of Molenbeek in the Brussels-Capital Region and TURAS researchers has led to an innovative process that is being tested in one of the municipality’s fast changing neighbourhoods. The goal of this process is to turn an underused real estate asset into a hub for sustainable economic activity that benefits the local community. The innovative character of this “Bernards Process” consists in charting each of the necessary steps and competences that need to be reunited to successfully turn an underused asset into a thriving economic hub.

WP7 - Integrated Transition Strategies

Leader: Eva-Maria Stumpp Typology: Demonstration

Identification of synergies between outcomes of WP 2-6s
Preparation of integrated transition approach combining the outcomes of one or more of the WP2-6.
Development and testing of integrated transition strategy for each participating TURaS city
Measurement of impact and results.
Development of an evaluation methodology for guiding non partner cities through the development of their own transition strategies based on TURaS outcomes.

WP8 - Dissemination, training and exploitation of results

Leader: Siobhan McQuaid Typology: Other

Public dissemination event:

“Doing things differently: the TURAS approach to urban resilience & sustainability”

SMEs and local authorities from 10 European cities showcase new collaborative approaches to building a better future for our citizens and the environment in which we live.

Malaga, 7th October 2015

WP9 - Project Management

Leader: Louise Dunne Typology:

Administrative, legal and financial coordination
Consortium coordination, reporting, deliverable production and quality management
Strategic, operational and risk management