The cities of Leeuwarden, Groningen, Rastede, Delmenhorst and Oldenburg are jointly working on solutions for issues related to climate adaptation and the circular economy. Design sessions are organised in June and July, in which the issues that arise in the different cities are discussed. Designers, policymakers, entrepreneurs, social organisations, joined by students, researchers and lecturers from knowledge institutions, work together on sustainable and circular solutions.
Eileen Blackmore of House of Design is delighted with the collaboration: ‘We see the climate crisis as a societal problem that can only be solved by working together and listening better to the suggestions of others. In consultation with the neighbouring regions, we investigate common solutions. For example, we are looking at how to deal with heat, rainwater and greenery in city centres, but also at a circular economy that tackles the bottlenecks of repairs and the (re)use of raw materials.’
Inventory of issues in the cities
Eileen and the partners have made an inventory of the climate-related issues that exist in the cities: ‘With these questions as a starting point, five design sessions are organised, which form the basis for a design process. These sessions also include the results of the Youth for Climate Adaptation Conference that was held in Groningen at the end of January. Young people have collected ideas for governments and students have, for example, made proposals for rainwater collection systems.’
Appealing to young people
In order to work together on an interregional agenda for climate adaptation, young people from the participating municipalities and regions will have to be involved in particular. Project coordinator Jan-Willem van Kruyssen: ‘The core of Klimare:pair is to set up a cross-border (online) collaboration between young people, citizens, creative professionals, scientific institutions, companies and governments to work together on a climate-friendly, crisis-resistant and liveable environment in the city.’
Prolonging the lifespan of products
For Roland Hentschel, deputy head of economic development of the city of Oldenburg, the project is a great opportunity to ask the question of how cities can form a sustainable economy that is focused more on extending the life of products, for example: ‘The corona crisis has shown how vulnerable we are. We now have the opportunity to produce more autonomously. This strengthens our stability and has ecological and social effects. I am very happy with the project, because the collaboration with our Dutch partners has been going on for years and is very reliable.”
Klimare:pair started in January 2021 with the Youth for Climate Adaptation Conference and will end in October 2021 with the aim of achieving a four-year InterregVI EDR subsidy so the project can continue in 2022.
It is an initiative of the Municipality of Leeuwarden, House of Design, Hanze Hogeschool Groningen, Stichting Werkpro / GoudGoed Groningen, Stadt Oldenburg, Jade Hochschule Oldenburg, Gemeinde Rastede, Stadt Delmenhorst. With partners: Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Universität Siegen Oldenburg, Reparaturrat Oldenburg e.V., Ernährungsrat Oldenburg, Statuur, Landkreis Leer.
The project receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Ministry of Lower Saxony for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development and the Province of Friesland – as part of the Interreg VA program Deutschland – Netherlands.