PLUS Change

Planning Land Use Strategies: meeting biodiversity, climate and social objectives in a Changing world

Kick-off Meeting in Prague, 12.-14.6.2023
Kick-off Meeting in Prague, 12.-14.6.2023

For a climate-resilient landscape in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and beyond

The floods of 2021 and the drought of 2022 have shown that climate change will also have an increasing impact in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine through extreme weather phenomena: in some years there will be too much water, in other years too little. Both extremes can be mitigated by strengthening the water storage capacity of the landscape, but land use has so far taken little account of this new challenge.

The HORIZON PLUS Change project (Planning Land Use Strategies for meeting climate, biodiversity and social goals in a Changing world) will address this issue: the project aims to create greater awareness of how decisions on how we use and manage land affect climate, people and the environment. Citizens and businesses, but also policymakers, are to be given recommendations for action on how land use can be made more sustainable and, above all, climate-resilient in a changing world.

The project with a duration of 4 years started on 1.6.2023 under the leadership of the Czech research institute Czech Globe. 23 partners from research and practice from the EU, Great Britain and Switzerland are involved in the project. The Three-Countries Park participates as a practice partner through the EMR.

The kick-off event took place in Prague from 12-14 June and focused on the project's workflow and the integration of science and practice. About 40 participants presented different land use planning projects in the different regions of Europe and discussed how they can be supported by instruments from research. Conversely, research will derive recommendations for EU policy from the experiences in the regions.

In addition to a master plan for Amsterdam, a climate farmer project in Switzerland and other application areas, the Three-Countries Park practice case will deal with a cross-border action plan for a climate-resilient landscape.
The focus will be on the green corridor between the Eifel/Ardennes and the Hoge Kempen in the heart of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and on "nature based solutions" for climate adaptation. These contribute significantly to mitigating the impacts of climate change by strengthening and restoring natural processes (such as the small water cycle) in the landscape. They are highlighted as an important tool in the EU Climate Adaptation Strategy. Examples of nature-based solutions that can increase water retention in the landscape while improving biodiversity and landscape quality include:

  • preservation and reforestation of mixed forests,
  • enrichment of soils with organic material,
  • restoration of meandering river courses & small wetlands,
  • release of riverine floodplains into which the river can expand during floods,
  • hedgerows parallel to slopes that slow down water runoff.

The aim is to work together with local actors from the field to document water retention measures that have already been implemented or are planned in the sense of nature-based solutions in a map, but also to identify the need for action in transboundary river basins (such as the Geul). Steps towards implementation are also to be initiated by the project.

At the end of the project, an integrated solution for climate adaptation, biodiversity and quality of life of the citizens should be elaborated and show how the green heart of the Euregio can be made climate resilient and sustainable for future generations.

Nature-based solutions: River floodplain in the Meuse Valley © Provincie Limburg B
Nature-based solutions: River floodplain in the Meuse Valley © Provincie Limburg B
Funded by the European Union
Funded by the European Union

Duration: 2023-2027
Total budget: 6,7 Mio €
Leadpartner: Czech Globe
Three-Countries Park: Practice partner


Research partners:

  • Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Germany
  • KnowlEdge Srl, Italy
  • Nodibinajums Baltic Studies Centre, Latvia
  • Stichting ISOCARP Institute Center Of Urban Excellence, The Netherlands
  • International Creative Projects B.V., The Netherlands
  • Stichting Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Konrad-Lorenz-Institut für Evolutions- und Kognitionsforschung, Austria
  • Stowarzyszenie Centrum Rozwiazan Systemowyc, Poland
  • Stockholms Universitet, Sweden
  • Univerzita Konstantina Filozofa v Nitre, Slovakia
  • Univerza v Ljubljani, Slovenia
  • Plan4all, Czechia

Practice partners:

  • Euregio Maas-Rhein (Three-Countries Park), Belgium
  • Vlaamse Landmaatschappij, Belgium
  • Peri-urban Regions Platform Europe (PURPLE), Belgium
  • Île de France, France
  • Provincia di Lucca, Italy
  • Wojewodztwo Mazowieckie, Poland
  • Verein Parc Ela, Switzerland (associated partner)
  • RRA Zeleni kras doo, Slovenia
  • Regionalni rozvojova agentura jizni Moravy, Czechia
  • Surrey County Council, United Kingdom (associated partner)
Blue-Green-Star-Model of the Euregio. The green corridor (Eifel/Ardennes-Kempen) comes into focus in the PLUS Change project.
Blue-Green-Star-Model of the Euregio. The green corridor (Eifel/Ardennes-Kempen) comes into focus in the PLUS Change project.

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