Planting trees to improve metropolitan sustainability: updates on CLEARING HOUSE

Trees bring shade, mitigate temperature, rainfall and wind, and provide food and fodder for animals. Planting trees in cities or metropolises is key to resilient territories but many areas lack adequate green infrastructure. The CLEARING HOUSE project will investigate the role of urban forests as nature-based solutions (UF-NBS), which refers to all measures a city or metropolis can take to address urban sustainable development challenges by planting and managing trees.

CLEARING HOUSE, an European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation funded project, kicked-off last September. This project, aims to use trees as a means to improve urban living in both  Europe and China, and brings together 26 partners from across the spectrum, including prestigious universities, national research institutes, international and national non-profits, SMEs, and botanical gardens.

Concretely, CLEARING HOUSE will analyse and develop the potential of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in general, and UF-NBS in particular – across China and Europe – in order to enhance the resilience of cities facing major ecological, socio-economic, and human wellbeing challenges. The project will be organized around 5 pillars:

  1. Review existing knowledge on NBS: The project will compile, review and connect the existing knowledge on developing, managing and monitoring NBS and UF-NBS. It will also analyse governance, institutional and economic frameworks, as well as public perceptions and demands in China and Europe.
  2. Carry out Sino-European case studies: The project will analyse case studies of UF-NBS in China and Europe in view of their impacts on urban societies, their cost-effectiveness and their replicability in diverse contexts.
  3. Facilitate learning: The project will facilitate a collaborative learning process on UF-NBS connecting practitioners, businesses, policymakers and scientists from China and Europe to generate and apply new knowledge on UF-NBS.
  4. Develop tools: The project will develop decision support tools and guidelines for a cost-effective governance and management of NBS in general and UF-NBS in particular, in order to enhance urban resilience and human wellbeing.
  5. Increase NBS awareness: The project will increase awareness on the benefits of NBS in general, and UF-NBS in particular.

While some of the activities of the project are being postponed due to the recent expansion of the Covid-19 disease such as the first co-design workshop "forests and trees of the metropolis: benefits, functions and experiences" organized by the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, or the Metropolis led competitive call for city-tandem on UFNBS, we invite you to find more information on the newly created CLEARING HOUSE website.

On the website, you will be able to get the last updates of the project, access to the case studies on the implementation of UFBS in cities like Barcelona, Brussels, Beijing, Hangzhou or Xiamen or register for the 6 webinars that are scheduled across the project.


CLEARING HOUSE stands for Collaborative LEArning in Research, INformation-sharing and Governance on HOw Urban forests as nature-based solutions support Sino-European urban futures.

If you would like to receive more information on the project’s progress or any of its activities, please contact Mr Guillaume Berret of the Metropolis Secretariat General.

This project has received funding from the European H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Grant Agreement n° 821242. Several Chinese CLEARING HOUSE partners have also contributed to the funding.