Inspiring outcomes of the Ghent Summer School

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - Published by Ellen Kelder

At the beginning of September, sixteen participants from different countries worked for a week on the challenge of designing green axes in Ghent. Green axes are the connecting elements within a city-wide green structure which are at the same time important for the climate robustness of the city.

Cities are extremely vulnerable to climate change. Qualitative blue green networks help them adapt to these changes. The notion ‘blue’ in blue green networks refers to water retention and water discharge, ‘green’ to a less sealed surface and to extra trees and shrubs in order to reduce heat stress and air pollution. The blue green networks not only help to cope with extreme weather conditions, but they also contribute to an attractive and child-friendly living environment as they bring nature to the city and bikers from the city centre to the more massive green elements and urban agriculture in the fringe.

Summer school

The summer school acknowledges these starting points for the research by design of green climate axes. However, the exploration of the axes will cover a wider area as the ambition is to assess the current and future potential to embed and integrate the green climate axes maximally within the urban tissue. That is why the summer school has looked into the possibilities in adjacent neighbourhoods, to create a coherent ensemble of green and blue elements that penetrate in and interweaves with the built environment. The potential to keep or add green public and private elements, to unseal surfaces, to add water, bike and walk infrastructure has been explored.


With the guidance of several professors, researchers and international experts, the participants have developed several proposals for the development of the green axes. You can take a look at the posters of each proposal here: