The Nature Smart Cities Capacity Building Programme


Supporting officers to make compelling business cases to invest in Green Infrastructure projects

Now more than ever, Local Authorities can help to improve the quality of life of their residents. The use of Green Infrastructure (GI) solutions in urban environments, such as trees, green roof and walls, and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), can provide a wealth of benefits to towns and cities. Particularly important in Covid times, these range from providing a more attractive living environment and greater access to green space which improves health and wellbeing, as well as building climate resilience. However, smaller Local Authorities sometimes struggle to generate the business case needed for investment in GI projects. As a result, such projects can mistakenly be considered as less advantageous and more expensive than conventional solutions.

This free capacity building programme provided by the Nature Smart Cities (NSCiti2S) project will help officers in smaller Local Authorities overcome the challenges in seeking investment for GI projects.

Participants will have the opportunity to work with an innovative Business Model that enables users to compare different future GI project scenarios. The Business Model allows users to review the value urban greening provides across multiple ecosystem services, such as recreation, biodiversity, water storage, flood management, air quality, etc. The result is a business case that can help decision makers see the cost, benefits, and value of utilising GI approaches.

In 2022, the Nature Smart Cities project is running a free Capacity Building Programme which consists of two complementary workshops. In addition to working with the Business Model tool, the programme will build the capacity of its participants to identify opportunities for urban greening, help to formulate the evidence of its benefits, and provide the opportunity for sharing experiences and learning with officers from other Local Authorities. 

The workshops are open to officers in planning, design, environment, and any other service (housing, transport, highways, etc.) that either currently incorporate GI or are planning to incorporate GI in their work into the future.

Councillors with portfolio responsibilities for environment/planning are also invited.

The first workshop took place on the 2nd March 2022 and a recording can be viewed online here.

To register for your place on the 2nd UK Capacity Building workshop in London on the 8th June 2022, click here.

How the Capacity Building Programme works

The Capacity Building Programme is organised in each of the NSCiti2S project countries – Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and the UK. The programme consists of two workshops in each country, filled with interactive sessions, best practices from pilot projects and inspiring stories.

The learning is incremental and built up across both of the workshops, so participants will be expected to attend both in-country workshops. In the UK, the first workshop took take place on the 2nd March (half-day, online) and the second workshop will take place on the 8th June (full day, physical) at Mansion House in London.  

The workshops are free of charge and the second workshop will include lunch and beverages.

What is the Nature Smart Cities Project?

NSCiti2S brings together 11 partners across seven cities in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, funded by the EU through its Interreg 2 Seas programme. The project aims to strengthen and develop LA capacity to provide GI, particularly in smaller, less well-resourced municipalities. It will do this by providing a business model with a robust step-by-step methodology, to determine the financial value of the outputs of a GI project, enabling a more accurate calculation of GI’s cost and benefit in comparison with more traditional approaches.

Project website:


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