The COOL TOWNS cooperation project brings together 13 European partners whose goal is to fight the negative effects of climate change and find innovative and practical solutions to avoid or minimize the heat stress in cities.

The problem of the heat stress

Because of climate change, heat waves and droughts are more frequent during warm summers. These higher temperatures cause « heat stress », i.e. negative impacts on public health, productivity, wellbeing, air and water quality and other urban systems.

There is therefore a real need for cities to adapt to this issue but they face a lack of knowledge and specific tools, more particularly with setting objectives, applying measures to fight heat stress, integrating heat resilience in environmental and development strategies, creating incentive mechanisms to invest in heat resilience, with the urgent need to adopt heat resilient design in building.

An European solution

COOL TOWNS aims to develop an online decision tool based on the experiences of 7 pilot projects from 4 Member States. The first phase of the project will establish a heat stress map and modelise the impacts of different scenarios while the second phase will look at developing a decision-making tool for local governments with different solutions according to their specific settings.

This project, funded by the Interreg programme « 2 seas Seas Zeeen 2014-2020 » with approximately EUR 8 million, was launched on 24 September 2018 in Brussels and will end on 1st October 2022. It brings together leading European research/academic institutions, governmental organisations and industries from the climatology and climate adaptation domains.

The 13 COOL TOWNS partners are: the municipality of Middelburg (NL – Lead Partner), the city of Breda (NL), Province of East-Flanders(BE), City of Ostend (BE), Southend on Sea Borough Council(UK), University of Greenwich (UK), Kent County Council (UK), Université de Picardie Jules Verne (FR),  GreenBlue Urban  (UK), Urban Planning and Development Agency of the Saint-Omer and Flandre Interieure region AUD (FR), Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (NL), Sioen Industries (BE) and Community of the Conglomeration of St. Omer CAPSO (FR).

Local involvement

Saint-Omer region will receive nearly EUR one million for the COOL TOWN project that involve two local partners. The Urban Planning and Development Agency (AUD-PSOFI) will contribute to the creation of the online tool so it can apply it in urban planning projects. Saint-Omer County (CAPSO), as contracting authority for urban rehabilitation, will test the components and solutions in the works it realises in the areas of its urban renewal project, and will be able to integrate this experience into planning documents.