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European Climate Risk Typology presented during Green Week 2018

15 June 2018

European Climate Risk Typology presented during Green Week 2018

On 23 May 2018, University of Manchester’s Jeremy Carter presented the European Climate Risk Typology at a Green Week partner event co- organised by CPMR (the Conference for Peripheral Maritime Regions) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

Elena Visnar-Malinovska, Head of the Adaptation Unit at DG CLIMA delivered an opening address, commending the work local and regional governments are already undertaking in climate change adaptation (with special mention made of RESIN partner City of Bratislava’s work supporting private households), but emphasised that more needs to be done – including better dissemination of existing guidance and tools. Visnar-Malinovska’s address was followed by a series of presentations from regional government leaders and advisors, introducing ongoing adaptation initiatives.

Renaud Layadi from the Conseil Régional de Bretagne (France) outlined the Breizh COP approach to mobilising stakeholders and communities to build climate resilience. Ignacio de la Puerta, Director of Urban and Territorial Planning, and Urban Regeneration from the Basque Country (Spain) spoke about an ongoing revision of the regional planning framework to incorporate climate adaptation and resilience measures, emphasising the importance of integrating levels of governance. Quentin Dilasser, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (France) introduced the LIFE project NATURE4CITY, which hopes not only to communicate the role of nature in building resilience in cities to local stakeholders and communities, but also to feed messages back to higher levels of government and European Commission departments. Marcin Gradzski, Special Advisor, Polish Ministry of Environment outlined efforts to support cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants across Poland to develop adaptation strategies, as part of the 44MPA project.

In the afternoon, a research perspective was brought in, with practical measures to support cities and regions introduced from the Smart Mature Resilience and RESIN projects. ICLEI’s Vasileios Latinos described the Resilience Maturity Model and Risk Systemicity Questionnaire, followed by Jeremy Carter of the University of Manchester, who presented the European Climate Risk Typology. When complete in coming months, the Typology’s interactive map portal will be a tool for decision makers, planners and researchers to describe and communicate climate risk, to form strategies and plans to reduce climate risk (e.g. Covenant of Mayors) and to develop networks – as a mechanism to spatially identify shared risk profiles and to support local and regional collaboration across borders.

Transforming post-industrial zones to green hubs

12 June 2018

Transforming post-industrial zones to green hubs

A new European-funded project “Productive Green Infrastructure for Post-industrial Urban Regeneration (proGIreg)” was launched in Aachen on 12th June 2018. The cities of Dortmund (Germany), Turin (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia) will harness the productive potential of key post-industrial areas with the involvement of local NGOs, community groups and residents.

The city of Dortmund will use the renatured Deusenberg landfill site to produce solar power and provide sports areas and creating fruit-producing forests with the local residents of Huckarde. Ultimately, the aim is to turn the isolated Huckarde borough into a green space, thereby filling in the missing link between two river sites that have already been converted into nature parks. “We would like to use the existing strengths of this urban area,” said Stefan Thabe, Department of City Planning and Building Regulations, City of Dortmund. “We would like to connect the existing potential, and we would like to improve quality of life in the urban area.”

A further central goal of the Living Lab Dortmund is to establish a community planned, built and operated aquaponic farm. Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and soilless plant cultivation, where fish, plants and bacteria live together in a circular system, making farming possible in areas with hostile post-industrial soil. ProGIreg aims to design a lower tech, low cost aquaponics system that is accessible and suitable for community investment, community building and community operation. The technology has been implemented in Dortmund since 2012 and the project plans to use the experience of the city and its local expert partners to stimulate aquaponic innovations in the project's other cities. 

“We are planning to reconstruct a former meat processing plant to create a new centre in the Sesvete area,” said Matija Vuger, Head of Section for International and Regional Projects, City of Zagreb. “The nature-based interventions will include urban gardens, a new cycle path, a modern business innovation hub with green walls and green roofs, and aquaponics agriculture.”  

Turin will introduce nature-based solutions including aquaponics, cycle lanes, bee-friendly areas and green roofs and walls to the post-industrial ‘Mirafiori Sud’ area and to connect local groups already working on urban agriculture. Turin will experiment with the use of ‘new soil,’ produced by combining compost and special fungi with poor-quality, but uncontaminated soil, and will introduce carbon compensation and offset schemes for private companies and large public events. Elena Deambrogio, Head of Office for Smart Cities and EU Funds at Comune di Torino said, “This project is ambitious because we have to work on different sectoral policies, including urban regeneration, social and active inclusion, environment and green planning and economic development and support to innovation.”  

The three cities will work with four further cities in Eastern and Southern Europe: Cascais (Portugal), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Piraeus (Greece) and Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to research, share and scale up the nature-based solutions tested along with 25 other organisations including coordinator Rheinsch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH) and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. “We need to make politicians and decision-makers aware that nature-based solutions can be more than just for leisure activities, and that they are of crucial importance,” said Teresa Ribeiro, landscape architect at Cascais Ambiente.

“ProGIreg is the next step in bringing issues around green infrastructure, urban development and business innovation together,” said project coordinator Dr. Axel Timpe. “We are lucky to have an inspiring group of ambitious, committed and experienced cities on the proGIreg team, and together we will show the productive potential of green infrastructure for urban regeneration.”  

A large launch event will be held in Dortmund on 25-26 September. For more information, follow the project at www.twitter.com/progireg.

Cities are coming together to make the journey towards a resilient future

29 May 2018

Cities are coming together to make the journey towards a resilient future

A new video shows the journey of seven cities towards a resilient future. Climate scenarios of increasing storms, floods and heat waves have lately become a reality and are putting citizens’ health and lives at risk as a result of climate change.

Human-made disasters such as terrorist attacks used to happen every 5 years in European cities and are now occurring several times a year. Local governments need to prepare their infrastructure for the worst in order to protect their communities, but these challenges transcend national borders and city limits.

“We are changing, the cities are changing, the world is changing and we also need to see outside the borders, to learn and to share information. And I think ICLEI is a great opportunity and a great platform for us to do that,” said Silje Solvang, Municipality of Kristiansand (Norway).

Cities need to work together to build a resilient urban environment where their communities can thrive. Kristiansand, along with the cities of Bristol (United Kingdom), Donostia (Spain), Glasgow (United Kingdom), Riga (Latvia), Rome (Italy) and Vejle (Denmark) have worked with research scientists, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and DIN to co-create and test a Resilience Management Guideline. The Resilience Management Guideline consists of five steps, which cities can follow to integrate resilience into their city planning.

Developing this guideline and the supporting tools has begun a movement to go beyond adapting infrastructure to climate change and spurred cities on towards boosting social cohesion and quality of life as a primary focus of resilience.

“When I initially came to the project it was very much about future proofing places and infrastructure,” said Lucy Vilarkin, city of Bristol. “For me, the emphasis has shifted onto people and organisations, and how we deal with tackling health issues and building healthy organisations.”

For more information, click here.

Putting the Basque Declaration into practice: implementation event to be held in Bilbao

25 May 2018

Putting the Basque Declaration into practice: implementation event to be held in Bilbao

Since hundreds of cities from over 40 countries first endorsed the Basque Declaration two years ago at the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns in Bilbao (Spain), commitment to the Declaration has been gaining momentum.

New signatories are joining the movement and cities are taking action to transform their communities for a more sustainable future. The Basque Declaration highlights the need to adapt to climate change, improve public space, protect water resources and air quality and enhance ecosystem services, and the Declaration provides pathways towards this transformation. ICLEI Europe and the City of Bilbao are working together to return to the venue of this seminal conference, Bilbao’s Euskalduna Palace, for an implementation event on 5 July 2018, this time marking the implementation phase of the Basque Declaration. City practitioners will come together with researchers to discuss and learn about practical approaches to building climate resilience for “Putting the Basque Declaration into Practice: Supporting climate change adaptation”, a stakeholder dialogue event on the topic of climate change adaptation and resilience. The cities of Paris (France) and Bilbao will exchange with their peers from Zadar (Croatia), Padova and Alba (Italy), Almada (Portugal), Athens (Greece), London (UK), Strasbourg (France) and Warsaw (Poland), and further ambitious cities are invited to join the conversation.As well as exchanging on the climate change adaptation measures underway in European cities, support tools and methods will be introduced, which can help local governments identify risks, assess their interdependencies and impacts, and select effective climate change adaptation solutions - now and in the future. The tools and methods use standardised approaches, which help local governments collaborate with their peers in cities around Europe on climate challenges that transcend borders.The tools and research to be presented at the event have been produced as part of the European-funded project RESIN – Resilient Cities and Infrastructures. Attendance is free of charge and registration is open until 22 June 2018. For more information, click here.

Climate change adaptation practice is stopping short: it’s time to work on real-life consequences

11 May 2018

Climate change adaptation practice is stopping short: it’s time to work on real-life consequences

A new paper published by RESIN researchers in Sustainability calls on climate change practitioners to tackle the practical consequences of climate change: all they need to do is to shift their focus away from ‘vulnerability’ and onto ‘risk’. This shift can bring climate change adaptation practitioners up to date with the perspective of scientific community and intergovernmental organisations, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) moved from a vulnerability to a risk-based conception of climate change adaptation in 2012.

Those in the climate change adaptation community have largely used ‘vulnerability’, or the propensity to be affected by hazard, as their frame for understanding and responding to climate change. The authors write that, “by labeling people and places as ‘vulnerable’, a passive attitude may be adopted to climate change. Similarly, the negative framing overlooks the importance of local culture and underlying resilience, particularly in non-western nations. In short, a vulnerability frame can promote inaction.”

Risk assessments, on the other hand, focus much more on the real-life consequences of potential hazard and are carried out by important stakeholders for the climate change adaptation community, including the health sector, disaster risk managers, and even insurance companies. Risk assessments, the authors write, go beyond impact and vulnerability assessments and bring together different elements of the adaptation agenda to help identify which weather and climate risks are most pressing.

Paradoxically, following the advice of the research community would actually move cities and climate practitioners away from relying on the assessment and recommendations of researchers, and would encourage them to share knowledge and input with practitioners in other fields rather than looking to academia for answers. The authors write that “the risk-based concept can help to shift the focus from top-down, science-first vulnerability assessments to risk assessments that can better involve a range of stakeholders and can help to consider climate change as one risk along with many other challenges.” This makes considerations of future and often uncertain climate risk compatible with practical on-the-ground decision-making across municipal departments and across the city.

Risk assessment is used by a range of different industries, it is broad and makes room for inclusion of different stakeholders, and it is closer to relevant practice for climate adaptation practitioners, particularly disaster risk managers. Even more importantly, it focuses on real consequences, rather than the vague possibility of adverse affects, as is the case for vulnerability. So why is risk not already the first choice for the climate change adaptation community? 

Firstly, existing climate change assessment projects support a ‘science-first’ vulnerability focus rather than supporting a risk-based approach. Some tools provide information on too broad a scale, while cities need detailed information about small areas, or data coverage is inconsistent across European countries, or tools can only be useful for early planning stages, or they ignore the wider hinterland that cities might be embedded within.

The European Climate Risk Typology, developed as part of the RESIN project, aims to bridge this gap and help cities to move away from vulnerability and towards risk, reaping the benefits of better connections to other sectors and a better grip on real-life consequences. The Typology will help policymakers differentiate different risk elements and will help to show them which issues are driving risk in a particular situation. Climate adaptation practitioners interested in contributing to the development of the Typology are invited to join the RESIN Expert Input Group and to participate in a consultation process for the final development stage of this tool.

More information is available at http://www.resin-cities.eu/expert-input-group/.

Can standardization be useful for climate adaptation?

9 May 2018

Can standardization be useful for climate adaptation?

The vast majority of commercial products you might encounter on a daily basis have had to pass a variety of standards, from the materials they are composed of, the shape, the packaging and instructions, to the machines that produce them. Most commonly associated with health and safety regulations, and technical equipment such as screws and mobile phone chargers, standardization is becoming increasingly relevant to people-centred processes, such as management. Just as standardizing a mobile phone charger ensures high quality and means that it can be used transferably with many different mobile phones, standardization of soft processes supports collaboration as part of much more complex processes. 

Planning a city to adapt to climate change involves the intersection of a number of complex systems, each of which involves unknown, uncertain and unpredictable factors. Climate is in itself an incredibly complex system, cities are complex systems, and municipal workers balance all of this complexity with limited budgets, political priorities and practical considerations. Standardization is one way in which municipalities and local councils can create a common language so that they can use the same methods and software as one another for a process as specific as climate change adaptation. 

“Cities use standards in their daily work, for example, to determine quality of products and services in their procurement processes,” said Holger Robrecht, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. “However, they are not so used to applying standards and norms related to their management procedures, for example, related to climate change adaptation or urban resilience. However, whilst a few large cities often have capacity to develop, establish and maintain their tailor-made procedures, the vast majority cannot. They depend on high quality and up-to-date information and reference documents that guide their management of climate change adaptation. Standardisation picks upon cutting-edge expertise to provide such guidance.”

The city of Bratislava (Slovakia) is one city looking to standardized approaches to adapt to climate change. Bratislava has put a climate change adaptation strategy in place to deal with the climate challenges the city is facing, such heatwaves and droughts, and has now arrived at the point of developing an action plan to turn the strategy into reality. Gathering data for this process has proven to be a challenge for the city, but real progress is being made, in part thanks to cooperation with universities including the University of Bratislava.

Bratislava has been applying an Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas (IVAVIA) tool locally to assess vulnerability on the basis of risk. According to Eva Streberová, Climate Adaptation Expert, City of Bratislava (Slovakia), using this tool depends on cooperation between the city council and its stakeholders, providing a range of co-benefits. Bratislava is also a signatory of the Mayors Adapt initiative, whereby the city committed to contributing to the aims of the EU Adaptation Strategy. This commitment is associated with a comprehensive reporting process, and Bratislava has found that using the IVAVIA tool has made this reporting process easier.  

IVAVIA is a standardized approach to making a vulnerability and risk assessment. It is made up of three qualitative and 3 quantitative steps followed by presentation module. During the IVAVIA process, cities produce impact chain diagrams, which make the cause-effect relationships between the consequences of hazards and exposed objects visible. Later in the process, cities can develop detailed risk maps that can show city councils which areas in the city are in need of particular attention. IVAVIA can help cities not only uncover risk and vulnerability issues affecting them, but can also help to communicate these in a visual way.  

Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) has also used the IVAVIA method to arrive at systematically mapped risk indicators and indices, with a particular focus on flooding and its repercussions on the transport network. Use of the tool has enabled Greater Manchester to produce an impact chain demonstrating the interactions between pluvial flooding and the system of major arterial roads in Greater Manchester. Developing this impact chain brought transport agency staff into closer working contact with the municipality.

“The 'beauty' of standards lie in their global availability, hands-on foundation and an inherent regular review mechanism keeping the standard at speed with the generation of knowledge and experience,” said Robrecht. “Being voluntary by nature, cities can 'pick and choose' what fits best to strengthen their climate change adaptation management.”

These outcomes were shared at the RESIN project’s session, “Standardized support tools for urban resilience, integrating resilience planning into local decision-making” at the Bonn Resilient Cities conference, 27 April 2018.

RESIN General Assembly meeting, Sankt Augustin (Germany)

4 May 2018

RESIN General Assembly meeting, Sankt Augustin (Germany)

The RESIN consortium met in Sankt Augustin (Germany) last week for its final General Assembly. The four core cities of the RESIN project presented their recent work and discussed their perspective on the co-creation process within RESIN.

The city of Paris presented the Paris Adaptation Strategy. “Paris is one of the Tier 1 cities of the RESIN project, along with Bratislava, Manchester and Bilbao,” said Marie Gantois, City of Paris. “We were looking forward to exchanging experience and also to see how we could contribute to shaping some tools for cities regarding adaptation to climate change and potentially also learn from it's at a different scale.

What happened in Paris is that we already had an adaptation strategy at the whole city scale and we wanted to use RESIN to test other tools for adaptation to climate change at smaller scales, and that is what's been tested in the RESIN project.”

As part of the city’s updated adaptation strategy, the city aims to address climate-related challenges, including heat, especially the urban heat island effect and heat waves, flooding and intense rainfall, droughts and water scarcity, and lastly energy scarcity. The strategy includes 65 measures, many of which are oriented towards heat mitigation and improving thermal comfort.

The city of Bratislava has been reaching out to stakeholders who are expected to be affected by climate change. The city will also build on its successful programme of subsidies for implementing sustainable rainwater measures, which has been offered to citizens for the last two years and will continue into a third. The city is seeking nature-based solution options for adaptation to climate change and is currently monitoring temperatures in different areas of the city to identify effective adaptation options.

The city of Bilbao has fed outputs from the RESIN co-creation process into the preparation of its recent Sustainable Mobility Plan. A risk analysis at a small scale was also made possible through the RESIN project, as grid analysis of risk areas was prepared by RESIN researchers on the city’s request at a detailed resolution.

Greater Manchester has been able to develop composite risk maps as a result of engagement in the RESIN project. Involvement of stakeholders and building cooperative relationships has been a meaningful output of the project. In Greater Manchester’s case, flood risk is the most immediately pressing climate adaptation challenge, and this field has provided an in-road into consideration of other interrelationships of climate and risk in the city.

A number of RESIN tools; the European Climate Risk Typology, the Impact and vulnerability analysis (IVAVIA) tool, the Adaptation Options Library and the latest release of the RESIN e-Guide were presented in an interactive rotating cycle of demonstration and discussion sessions.

RESIN project co-organises Open European Day

3 May 2018

RESIN project co-organises Open European Day

155 local government representatives, climate change adaptation experts and local and national government representatives convened in Bonn on 25th April 2018 to meet other city representatives for peer-based discussions on climate change adaptation.

Reinhard Limbach, Deputy Mayor of the city of Bonn, hosts of the event, said: “To be prepared for future incidents, we must create suitable technical infrastructure and work on an innovative, nature-based strategy… I find it so important to come together and to make use of the elaborated European system, to benefit from the exchange with our direct neighbours.”

As the event, organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the European Environment Agency, has grown over five editions, European institutions are seeing the value in joining the conversation with local governments.

“What regional organizations do, the country does, or even the European Union does, matters for cities,” said Birgit Georgi, Strong Cities in a Changing Climate. “They build a framework in which the cities connect, and so we started to invite more and more also these levels, like from the European Commission or national governments or regional governments and other supporters, because as cities cannot move alone forward to be more resilient, national governments, you cannot without these cities. We have to work together in a multi-level approach.”

Training events were added as a new feature to this year's edition, including training from the RESIN project on the risk-based Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas (IVAVIA) tool in the context of training cities on critical infrastructure protection. 

The 5th edition was supported by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and Ramboll and co-organised by the European-funded Smart Mature Resilience project, RESIN – Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures and PLACARD. The event is held annually.

Photo gallery: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmh5cQct

Open European Day 2018 set to be biggest edition in the series

18 April 2018

Open European Day 2018 set to be biggest edition in the series

The fifth edition of Open European Day has proven to be the most popular edition yet. Cities are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing and are coming together to discuss these challenges and share solutions with their peers and experts from the world of science and research.

Speakers to join the opening discussion reflecting on the past year and years to come for climate adaptation in Europe will include Nicolas Faivre, DG Research, European Commission, Stefanie Lindenberg, NCFF European Investment Bank, Bernd Decker, EASME/LIFE Programme, Stefania Manca and Paolo Castiglieri, Municipality of Genoa (Italy) for the Climate Adaptation Partnership of the EU Urban Agenda, Eleni Myrivili, City of Athens (Greece), Joanna Kiernicka-Allavena, City of Wroclaw (Poland)/44MPA project and Marian Barquin, Basque Government.

Breakout sessions will see cities discuss topics including flooding, insurance, nature-based solutions, cultural heritage and partnerships and will include contributors from the cities of Arnsberg (Germany), Bologna (Italy), Budapest (Hungary), Cascais (Portugal), Copenhagen (Denmark), Glasgow, Greater Manchester (United Kingdom), Guimaraes (Portugal), Helsinki (Finland), Kristiansand (Norway), Paris (France) and Thessaloniki (Greece). The Open European Day’s successful Marketplace will be back this year as a unique space for exchange and partnerships.

As a new addition for the fifth Open European Day, breakout training sessions will provide expert training on topics including critical infrastructure protection, citizen engagement and financing adaptation.

Strathclyde Business School and Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) will provide training on critical infrastructure protection, using the outcomes from the Smart Mature Resilience and RESIN projects, which are co-organising the event.

On:Subject and the European Environment Agency will provide training on citizen engagement for adaptation and EASME/LIFE Programme and the European Investment Bank will provide training for cities on how to access financing to fund urban adaptation. Registration is now closed.

More information and the final programme is available here

 

New Research Will Lead to a More Resilient Europe

10 April 2018

New Research Will Lead to a More Resilient Europe

54 partner organisations across five EU-funded projects have come together to recommend new European Resilience Management Guidelines. Developed over the last three years, these guidelines have the potential to improve the security and safety of citizens and society.

At a major event in Brussels today, these projects - Smart Mature Resilience, DARWIN, IMPROVER, RESILENS and RESOLUTE – launched the ‘White Paper on Resilience Management Guidelines for Critical Infrastructures,’ outlining key recommendations for European policy makers.

To support the uptake of these guidelines, the five projects have developed a series of innovative tools, ranging from serious gaming based on virtual reality and gaming-based training apps, to e-learning hubs and resilience management matrix and audit toolkits.

A panel of end users reflected on the tools developed by the five projects. Silje Solvang, city of Kristiansand, said, "The most valuable outcome of our participation in the SMR project has been the cross-sectoral collaboration, which is essential for resilience." City representatives emphasised the need for access to data, which is only provided by privately owned critical infrastructure providers when the latter is legally obliged to do so. 

SMR project coordinator Jose Maria Sarriegi summarized the outcomes of the panel by notin gthat cooperation is essential for resilience, there is a challenge in communicating resilience, resilience is not only about technology and must include soft factors, there is a need for funding to facilitate further work, and finally, there is a need for the tools and methods produced to be adaptable to changing circumstances.

The European Resilience Management Guidelines and the associated tools were showcased at the Critical Infrastructure Resilience 2018 Conference, which took place on Tuesday 10th April from 09.00 to 16.00 at the Research Executive Agency (Covent Garden), Place Rogier, Brussels.

Attendees, including policy makers, resilience managers and practitioners, heard from resilience experts and end-users across the five projects on topics such as, Resilience Interventions Tools and Benefits; Resilience Policy, Standardisation and Current Needs; and Status, Further Needs and Roadmap to Integration.

The five projects are part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and cooperate together under crisis management topic 7: ‘crisis and disaster resilience – operationalising resilience concepts (DRS-7)’.

Download the white paper here.