City-centered approach to catalyze nature-based solutions through the EU Regenerative Urban Lighthouse for pollution alleviation and regenerative development



Nature-based solutions (NBS) address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, providing benefits to human well-being and biodiversity. NBS and sustainable land management activities can provide governments with effective, long-term and cost-efficient measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change, opportunities for active and healthy living, increase self-sufficiency and provide recarbonisation of the soil through nature-based negative emission technologies.

The overall concept of the UPSURGE project – financed by the Horizon2020 programme – is to research, co-create, comparatively test, measure and digitalise NBS interventions and their effects in different cities. The project will gain enough validated knowledge to bridge the gaps currently hindering wider implementation of NBS in Europe, particularly in cities. The project aims to create an NBS reference framework to be transposed into an initiative called the European Regenerative Urban Lighthouse: this Lighthouse will serve to assist and consult cities in targeted NBS implementation. The effectiveness of the Lighthouse will be tested in 5 pilot cities (Belfast, Breda, Budapest, Maribor, Katowice) implementing various NBS in light of their particular social, cultural and environmental contexts.

UPSURGE is introducing a novel approach on how to use NBS for maximum improvement of air quality in the locations of their implementation.



UPSURGE consortium is comprised of 23 project partners from 13 countries -12 EU member states and one IPA-II county (North Macedonia).

Partners were chosen by keeping in mind, what knowledge, expertise and experience is necessary to achieve UPSURGE results and maximise their impact.

The cities have been chosen based on their previous experience with NBS and their geospatial representation (Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Greece, Belfast and Maribor).

Universities and Research Institutions are supporting cities’ activities with their expertise (QUB, UniLeeds, IETU, BURST) and are providing additional NBS-related knowledge and experience to the consortium.

The consortium is involving several NGOs and three SMEs each bringing aboard their own particular contribution to UPSURGE.


BURST will be responsible for various steps in the project methodology: first a theoretical fit-for-problem matrix will be developed by BURST based on matchmaking key environmental and socio-economic challenges determined in demonstration cities and targeted NBS performance capacities. Besides BURST will lead on working out the multimodal sensing system, which will be established in the 5 demonstration cities combining vertical, horizontal, micro-location (citizen-based) andpollutant-specific measurements. BURST is also responsible to support with professional knowledge the demonstration site in Budapest, district XVIII.


Petra Madaras-Horogh

+36 20 269 9717

48 months, starting in September 2021