Update | MAY 2024

Here comes our May 2024 Update! This time, we are delighted to announce our new Horizon Europe research project SPADES, focusing on developing, testing and implementing soil-inclusive spatial planning strategies to support the transition towards soil health in Europe. Looking forward to this new challenge on such an important topic in Europe and beyond, starting from September 2024. Check also our latest achievements in European research and technical assistance programmes, as well as new position papers from our knowledge base. There are exciting times to come - proud to be an international partner of the global Conference Urban Future in Rotterdam in June 2024, and are excited about the next events such as the next World Urban Forum in Cairo.


We are thrilled to announce our involvement in the new Horizon Europe project SPADES (Spatial Planning And DEsign with Soil), which will strive to integrate soil considerations into the planning practice across Europe. Starting in September, our role as one of the core partners of the project will be to lead research activities to evaluate the potential of soil in spatial strategies, compiling inventories of practices for soil assessment and soil integration. We will also contribute to the uptake of best practices by the planning and design sector.

Meanwhile, we continue pursuing our involvement in several on-going research projects. We were in Novo Mesto, where VARCITIES’ consortium meeting took place. Among other milestones, the Health & Well-Being platform, VARCITIES’s digital twin platform, is now live: it features real time health and well-being parameters from seven Pilot Cities. Furthermore, already 18 out of the project’s 29 Visionary Solutions to promote health and well-being are in operation! The project is making significant progress and we’re proud to contribute to the implementation of these nature-based actions.

We also attended the project meeting of JUSTNature, another one of the projects in which we work towards the development of nature-based solutions in cities. The event took place in Bolzano & Merano and layed special focus on the exploitation of the project’s key innovative results. We are also addressing exploitation in the context of the UP2030 project, where we’re currently working on the exploitation of tools for climate neutrality.

The main outcomes of both JUSTNature and VARCITIES were the subject of our exhibition at the New European Bauhaus Festival this April in Brussels, where we also met up with partners from the REGEN project. We are delighted to have been part of the Festival organised by this EU initiative that aims to leverage green and digital challenges to transform life in the city for the better.

VARCITIES Progress Meeting | New European Bauhaus Festival | JUSTNature Project Meeting

As part of our communication tasks, we were part of DUST’s second consortium meeting at the end of April as communication and dissemination work package leaders. We have also been busy with the launch of PLUS Change’s first newsletter, a bi-annual update featuring the main highlights and progress of the project’s land use strategies development. Subscribe to it to find out more about what we’ve been up to during the first year of the project!


What are the links between climate change, enviromental risks and depopulation? This is what the first thematic report of Down to Earth investigates! Taking stock from the experience of six rural regions in Europe, the report we have been working on explores how ageing and depopulation increase the risks linked with environmental risks that are already decuplated by climate change, and proposes measures to address these challenges!


As an institute we are conscious of ongoing global events and consider our positionality in global urban planning and development. We are constantly looking for ways to open conversations and exchange on evolving hot topics. Check out the new series of opinion pieces and position articles from our knowledge base to learn more about our perspectives and join the discussion! We will be publishing new pieces regularly.

This month, we feature an article by Oishika Basak, ISOCARP Institute intern, who delves into citizen involvement in urban planning and examines inclusivity in participatory processes. Read it here and tell us what your reactions are! Your thoughts help spark stimulating conversations.

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW PARTNERS! We are looking for new partners with whom we can work together on capacity building, research exploration, public outreach and technical assistance both in and outside of Europe. We are always open to new connections, reach out to us via email: or connect on social media.