City Profiles

Leuven - Belgium

Main motivation for taking adaptation action

Within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Enegey and Climate-ADAPT initiatives, Leuven has already developed a Climate Action Plan and a Sustainable Energy Action Plan. A series of urban policies and projects have been formulated, setting targets for improved water and waste management, urban greening, sustainable mobility, and renewable energy systems. Leuven is dedicated to becoming a climate-neutral city by 2030, focusing on public engagement and stimulating local action. An important challenge is to streamline ongoing actions and plans by different administrations, and to develop a framework within which new coordinated actions can be developed in the city. The ultimate aim is an overall adaptation strategy that will be translated into strategic investments in specific projects that build upon ongoing actions.

Adaptation strategy

Have you already developed an adaptation strategy?
We (will) integrate adaptation into existing relevant plans
Additional information on adaptation responses
The city of Leuven aims to integrate adaptation to climate change into relevant existing and future plans and projects, while developing an integrated adaptation strategy and action plan.

Planned adaptation actions

The city aims to set out new, viable adaptation options and resilient projects, as part of the long-term development strategies. The city of Leuven is located in the Dyle valley, which is both a strong asset and a risk in terms of vulnerability to flooding. Projects have been implemented to increase the buffer capacity of the valley, such as a retention basin upstream from the historical city. Nevertheless additional measures and investments are necessary. When it comes to flooding and water hazards, the city is currently addressing the risks in order to develop an effective flood risk management approach and justify spatial interventions at the local level. Therefore the city is currently developing a specific plan for rainwater management within the Riopact framework. Since climate change is also likely to impact biodiversity in a number of ways and cause urban heat island effects, Leuven is currently preparing a strategic plan to create and improve green structures throughout the city. Urban parks provide citizens with access to public green spaces and moderate the expected negative impacts of climate change. The city of Leuven continues to invest strongly in urban parks within the redevelopment of former industrial sites. Those neighbourhoods that clearly lack a green environment have priority in terms of the introduction of new green structures or facilitating public access to existing green areas. Furthermore, adaptation is strongly related to the development of blue-green-networks as defined in the new spatial structure plan for Leuven.

Good practice / spotlight item


In the 'Vaartkom' area around the canal basin of Leuven, several former industrial sites of the AB Inbev brewery are being redeveloped into a vivid urban district. Along with the creation of a new energy-neutral neighbourhood between the ‘Vaartstraat’ and the ‘Sluisstraat’ and the conversion of the former brewery De Hoorn into a business center for creative companies, a new public park has recently been developed. This park at the borders of the Dyle river, named the ‘Sluispark’, includes a variation of green meeting spaces, a playground, neighbourhood square, nut orchard, a fish migration dam, and a water playground. The park integrates new biking and pedestrian routes and is part of a broader strategy to create positive synergies between the Dyle river and the city. The park creates pleasant spaces along the river and increases its buffer capacity, while new, different forms of vegetation strengthen the urban biodiversity and temper the possible heat island effects in a dense urban neighbourhood.

What sectors are concerned
  • Urban
  • Buildings
  • Biodiversity
  • Financial
  • Energy
  • Water management
  • Health
  • Transport

Climate change impacts

  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Droughts
  • Flooding
  • Water Scarcity
  • Storms

Key vulnerable sectors

  • Water Management
  • Buildings
  • Biodiversity
  • Health


Louis Tobback


100.000 inhabitants

Contact person

Wiet Vandaele
Head of Urban Planning and Sustainability Department


Mayors Adapt signatory

Date of officially joining Mayors Adapt

Sep 28, 2015

Covenant of Mayors 2020 signatory

Last Update

Mar 03, 2017

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