The overall objective of the Blue Green Infrastructure through Social Innovation project (BEGIN) is to demonstrate climate change adaptation solutions through blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in cities. Besides that it aims to capture and sustain BGI’s benefits by using social innovation, and to mainstream BGI into urban planning and operation by developing attractive business cases and overcoming governance barriers. The BEGIN project will bring together 10 cities (Antwerp, Ghent, Aberdeen, London Enfield, Bradford, Kent, Dordrecht, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Bergen) with 6 leading research institutes (CIRIA, UNESCO-IHE, University of Sheffield, TUHH, Royal College of Arts and Erasmus University), which are either frontrunners on the topic, or planning large investments during the project’s timeframe.
The approach of BEGIN is to demonstrate the effectiveness of BGI and implement viable BGI solutions at the target sites in partner cities. BEGIN uniquely combines BGI and social innovation for the first time to deliver climate change adaptation solutions. Social innovation will help mobilize problem-solving capacity of a wide range of stakeholders. In comparison to traditional planning processes that often merely inform or consult stakeholders, social innovation in this project also concerns involvement of the stakeholders in the implementation and maintenance phase. The Repolis team will study co-creation and governance in the cities, and will compile best practices and tools for social innovation processes. During the course of three and a half years the Repolis team will assist, monitor and evaluate the cities and their projects, particularly on the topic of social innovation.