31 July 2017
We are happy to share the sixth issue of the RESIN newsletter with
you. In this edition:
1) About RESIN: Video introduction to the RESIN project with
coordinator Peter Bosch, Tecnalia researcher EfrÉn Feliu and Deputy
Mayor of Bilbao Alfonso Gil
2) Open European Day: The RESIN project co-organized a successful
Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities
3) Spotlight on RESIN Tier 2 cities: Nijmegen and Radom
4) Research news: Development of the E-Guide
5) City news: Greater Manchester continues to engage with partners on
climate resilience and the RESIN project
6) Research news: Standardization
7) Co-creation news: Bratislava and vulnerability assessment
8) Related projects: New page on the RESIN website
9) Upcoming events
To read the RESIN newsletter, click here.
28 July 2017
The Slovakian capital of Bratislava is fast becoming a climate change adaptation champion for its local region. Through the RESIN project, Bratislava has begun to take an active role in developing and testing tools for adaptation planning. Specific conditions in Bratislava, such as climate change impacts, drivers, stressors and adaptation options, call for tailored outputs and tools, and the city is an active contributor to producing these resources. Crucial to the development process is the close relationship between cities: pilot cities in RESIN work closely together to share their experience and to share this with a wider circle of Tier 2 cities.
Such a city exchange took place as a knowledge transfer workshop held last month in Bratislava. The cities of Greater Manchester and Bratislava in collaboration with TNO, Tecnalia, Frauenhofer and ICLEI welcomed representatives of 10 RESIN Tier 2 cities to Bratislava from 13-14 June 2017. City governments and representatives from Ghent, Lahti, Covasna, Burgas, Reykjavik, Sfantu Gheorghe, Vilnius, Radom, Nijmegen and Newcastle met their Tier 1 partners in Bratislava for a 2-day knowledge transfer workshop at Faculty of Natural Sciences, Mlynská dolina, Bratislava.
During the workshop, the cities provided feedback on the RESIN vulnerability and risk assessment tool, IVAVIA. Bratislava has already developed two impact chains for “Health and wellbeing of the urban population” and “Green infrastructure” and has previously carried out vulnerability assessment. The city stakeholders were able to draw from this experience to provide tool developers with feedback on the prototype IVAVIA. Bratislava has been closely involved in the vulnerability analysis process and assessment of climate change risks. Through regular Skype meetings with RESIN research partner, Fraunhofer, the city is focusing on the process of involving stakeholders and collecting data.
Mapping and understanding vulnerability and risk is becoming increasingly important to Bratislava. The city has been facing a rapid increase in tropical nights with maximum temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. These hot nights have boomed in number from less than 5 in 1990 to 48 hot nights in 2013, and the trend is increasing every year. Thermovisual scanning clearly shows the benefit of green spaces and urban water features for cooling down urban areas and controlling these extreme nighttime temperatures. Local measures for adapting to this new climate reality such as green and blue infrastructure will be essential if Bratislava’s citizens are to get a good night’s sleep.
Bratislava became a pilot project of RESIN: Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures in 2015. Since then, it has also joined the core group of cities supporting the new Urban Water Agenda and hosted Bremen (Germany) and Arnhem (Netherlands) as part of the Mayors Adapt City Twinning Programme. In April 2017, the City parliament endorsed the “Action Plan for adaptation to climate change in Bratislava.”
The city’s next ambition is to support the usage of RESIN outputs and tools through translation into Slovak, to raise awareness of the benefits of climate change adaptation through boosting communication and stakeholder involvement, and finally, Bratislava aims to gain political commitment in order to be able to implement the results of the vulnerability assessment in the city’s master plan and urban development scenarios.
Read the full article
18 July 2017
The SMR project has been working for just over two years to develop a suite of tools to help cities enhance their resilience. These tools have been developed in close cooperation between seven partner cities of Glasgow, San Sebastian, Kristiansand, Rome, Riga, Bristol and Vejle, SMR's four university partners, ICLEI Europe and standardization body DIN.
The cities have been working with researchers to develop five strategic support and discussion formats that the cities are using to identify and select policies they should implement to address weaknesses in their resilience management, to develop long-term resilience strategies as well as structures for cross-departmental cooperation outside of the usual 'silos'.
Now that the tools are being finalised, they will be shared with a wider group of cities at a Stakeholder Dialogue event in Thessaloniki, Greece. Three tools are already available to cities: the Resilience Maturity Model, Risk Systemicity Questionnaire and Resilience Engagement and Communication Tool. Two further tools: a System Dynamics Model and a collection of Resilience Policies will be completed before the event.
Registration for the Stakeholder Dialogue will open soon. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
17 July 2017
Radom (Poland) is located in the centre of Radom Plain, approximately 100km south of Warsaw, in the fork of the Vistula and Pilica rivers. At the turn of the 8th and 9th centuries, in the valley of the Mleczna river the first type of rural settlements were established, inhabited by farmers and fishermen. The settlement developed into an early-medieval town, chartered according to the Środa law, a variant of the Magdeburg law.
By the end of the 18th century Radom was in a state of neglect. The ancient city walls were in ruin. Private houses, town and ecclesiastical property were devastated and in need of renovation. Streets were muddy and difficult to pass. The Mleczna river lowlands and areas situated to the south were repeatedly flooded. There was an urgent need to dry and re-organize the town. In 1822 the regulation plan concerning organisation and expansion of Radom was approved.
One of the aims of the project was to establish new residential areas in the developing town, which already spread beyond its original medieval boundaries. In the years 1918-1945 the development of the city continued. The inclusion of Radom to the Central Industrial District allowed the creation of several factories. In 1933 a new railway line was built connecting Radom and Warsaw.
Alternating periods of flooding or drying forest are occurring more frequently than before. In 2013, the area of more than 920 ha was damaged due to interference of water relations including 560 ha of flooding area and 360 ha of drying area. Other abiotic and anthropogenic factors like low or high temperatures, frost and hail have smaller, local significance. In 2013 hail caused damage to more than 400 ha, fire affected 12 hectares while the extreme temperatures damaged 7 hectares.
Radom is planning to control flood water by implementing effective and cost-efficient green infrastructure measures, by supporting natural water retention through the restoration and preservation of natural green areas and wetlands.
4 July 2017
Many European cities are experiencing extremely high temperatures this summer – a trend that municipalities are accepting will continue. According to findings by RAMSES researchers, there will be 10 times more heat wave days from 2081-2100, reaching nearly 30 heat wave days per year on average.
A study by RAMSES related to the 2003 heat wave in France found that while heat waves coincided with an increase in deaths in small towns, Paris, as a major city, suffered nearly three times the number of additional deaths during heat waves.
Why do cities tend to be warmer than their rural surroundings? Firstly, there are more buildings and soil sealing: buildings store heat during the day and release them at night. Walls cause additional radiation as they reflect the sun’s rays and reduce ventilation in narrow streets. Secondly, cities cool less due to less vegetation in city centres causing lower evaporation levels. Thirdly, humans create additional heat, such as through vehicle exhaust. The maps produced following a study in Antwerp and 101 other European cities show where in cities the highest temperatures are occurring and which areas should be prioritised for adaptation measures.
The project found that a typical western European city has a mean temperature difference at midnight of around 4oC . City temperatures on hot summer nights are 8oC -10oC higher than rural areas, as a result of less ventilation and higher populations. The RAMSES project is now completing its fifth year working with cities to promote adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development. The project is currently holding a series of free webinars, which will continue on 13 July.
For more information and to register, click here.
13 June 2017
Nijmegen is located on the river Waal, between hills, polders and forests, which has been attracting people to the place for over 2,000 years. As the Netherland’s oldest city, it cherishes its history, while also realising that a sustainable future for its inhabitants is at least as important.
As of 2016, Nijmegen had 172,000 inhabitants, 75,000 houses, 80,000 cars and 250,000 bicycles. Since 1923 Nijmegen has been home to Radboud University. Together with the HAN University of Applied Sciences, it educates 40,000 students, which helps to inspire the city's youthful, modern culture.
Nijmegen is still growing. North of the Waal, the city is developing a new district with 12,000 houses. This sustainable development is based on the Ecopolis theory, whereby the basis for city development is natural infrastructure, sustainable green-blue infrastructure to store rainwater for use during dry periods and green space to provide citizens with beautiful surroundings and for recreation. The new houses are energy efficient and are largely connected to the residual heat network. A sustainable mobility system is also being developed that puts cycling and clean public transport first.
Adapting to climate change using nature
The Room for the Waal project (widening the river in the city centre) was the biggest inland climate adaptation project in Holland. People from all over the world come to visit Nijmegen for this outstanding example of water system innovation. In the heart of the city, the dike was relocated 350m and now a side channel and an island have been created in the river Waal. This River Park provides high water security and spatial quality at the same time.
The realization process involved extensive discussion and collaboration with various stakeholders. Concerns were raised before the outset by some people concerned that houses would have to be removed for high water safety reasons. However, these measures have proven to have been worth it, and citizens felt proud of the project and that the government delivered the promised outcome. The city Nijmegen took over the lead from the State government in this project, demanding a high spatial quality. The project was completed on time and within the budget. All residential areas are traffic safe (max. speed 30 km/h). Most residents go to work by bike or public transport. All city/regional busses are powered by green gas.
But Nijmegen still faces the negative effects of climate change: heavy rains and heat stress. In districts built after 1965 rain and drainage water remains separated. In districts built before 1965 we disconnect streets and houses from the mixed sewer and store the rainwater into the ground. Since 2000 already 15% of the paved surface is no disconnected and more and more also grey areas are turned over into green areas (pocket parks, green roofs, green walls) together with the citizens' participation.
9 June 2017
The Connecting Nature project kicked off yesterday at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland). Connecting Nature is a €12m European-funded project to position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of Nature-based Solutions. Three cities: Glasgow (United Kingdom), Poznan (Poland) and Genk (Belgium) will invest in multi-million-euro large scale implementation test-beds of Nature-based Solutions, followed by eight further cities: A Coruna (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Burgas (Bulgaria), Ioannina (Greece), Malaga (Spain), Nicosia (Cyprus), Pavlos Melas (Greece) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
The city of Genk aims to use nature-based solutions to tackle city issues like water management, and to provide multifunctional recreational areas, for example by developing the Stiemerbeek Valley. Glasgow aims to help provide convenient access to high-quality green spaces to its citizens and to continue the innovative flood management measures that are already in place, for example climbing walls and outdoor public seating areas that also help soak up flood water. Poznan has also transformed parts of the city with some impressive innovations, for example mobile greenery and furniture in the courtyard of the City Hall, rain gardens and four new municipal beaches along the Warta river.
The project will try out natural approaches to tackle challenges related to climate change adaptation, health and well-being, social cohesion as well as sustainable economic development. A number of businesses are also partners of the project, with the aim to spur on new green companies and social enterprises. ICLEI is a partner of the project, and will engage cities internationally in China, Brazil and Korea to allow international to allow peer-to-peer learning to scale up urban resilience, innovation and governance via nature-based solutions.
For more information, please see https://twitter.com/CONNECTINGNBS.
8 June 2017
Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities took place on 3rd May 2017 with over 100 participants. Representatives of European and global cities caught up with colleagues and collaborators from the climate change adaptation and resilience sector, researchers, the private sector, financiers and EU institutions. Alberto Terenzi (ICLEI Europe) and Birgit Georgi (Strong cities in a changing climate) launched directly into discussions in their opening of the event by greeting new and returning participants by microphone with some topical questions. This friendly and informal opening gave the Open European Day community a flavour of the open and conversational atmosphere that makes the day so special. To officially open the event, Birgit Georgi spotted a regular returning participant, Deputy Mayor of Bonn, Reinhard Limbach, who took to the podium with an opening sentiment on climate reality to which the cities in the audience applauded in agreement: “What used to happen once in 100 years now happens once a year.”
Facilitators Aleksandra Kazmierczak (European Environment Agency) and Holger Robrecht (ICLEI Europe) looked back over the last year in climate change adaptation, particularly the success among cities of the European Environment Agency report “Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 — Transforming cities in a changing climate,” which was launched at last year’s Open European Day and been widely used by cities since.
Cities need support in adapting to climate change
Sirpa Hertell (Committee of the Regions) joined the opening panel as a unique voice representing both the Committee of the Regions and the Finnish city and municipality Espoo, where she is a city councillor. She stressed that cities and regions should be helped to find the right combination of public and private funding for adapting to climate change, and called on researchers and universities to support cities in assessing their climate risks and vulnerability.
A lot of data and technical tools for climate change adaptation in cities have been gathered and produced, but the crucial step is making scientific results useable. This was the message from Nicolas Faivre (European Commission – DG Research) on the need for cities to articulate their needs so that they can be supported in climate action. This kind of transfer depends on exchange and co-creation between researchers and cities as well as collaborative events such as Open European Day.
Politicians need to commit to climate change adaptation
Climate hazards and extreme climate events often function as a trigger for adaptation policies to be implemented. In Vejle’s case, alongside broad work on resilience underway in the city, attention was drawn to the need for adaptation following heavy rains and flooding last year. While there can be many different reasons why cities decide to implement climate change adaptation measures, including reactions to hazards and disasters, recreational or aesthetic improvements or for city planning logistics, Peter Massini (City of London) reminded his colleagues from around Europe that these moments are crucial opportunities for practitioners with more knowledge and awareness of the co-benefits of adaptation. Once funding and permission for an adaptation measure has been approved through political commitment, policy officers in municipalities and city councils are the ones who can capitalise on the many co-benefits: from health, biodiversity, flood risk management, air quality and reducing the urban heat island effect to areas as diverse as social cohesion and economic advantages.
Cities have common climate challenges
“Solutions should add social value to the city for cities and also raise awareness about risks," said Anne Petersen (City of Vejle) and suggested that other cities make note of measures like the nature-based flood management solutions in Vejle that also provide recreational water areas. Vejle has been working as part of the Smart Mature Resilience project and its involvement in the 100 Resilient Cities network to help citizens understand the concepts of climate change adaptation and resilience, as this word does not exist in Danish. Communication on climate is a challenge common to European cities. In London’s case, Peter Massini addressed the difficulty of motivating citizens to engage with climate issues, which they can find abstract or irrelevant. For example, in London, it is easy to communicate air quality issues, but flooding London has been transforming: it has a climate adaptation strategy and is now developing a London environment strategy.
Making progress on climate action
“Cities have been doing adaptation without calling it so,” as Sandro Nieto Silleras (European Commission DG Clima) noted before inviting cities to communicate their local energy and climate action needs to the European Commission’s DG Clima and the Global Covenant of Mayors via a survey. He commended cities for their progress on climate change adaptation and encouraged cities to communicate their stories and to help their peers replicate their successful measures.
Guimarães has been able to save money and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals by working with local researchers. A flood management project in the historical city centre helped the city eliminate floods in the area and by extension, all flood-related losses in the area, since the measures were implemented in 2015. The city of Bilbao, a partner of the RAMSES project and RESIN project, which were supporters and co-organisers of the event respectively, showed how the city has made great leaps recently in its work on climate change by including a chapter on climate change in its master plan and elaborating a sustainable urban mobility plan.
Insider tips: how cities can finance adaptation
One question on many cities’ lips and a barrier brought up on every edition on Open European Day is how to access financing to fund climate adaptation projects. Stefanie Lindenberg (European Investment Bank) gave specific advice for cities on how to write successful applications to the EIB’s Natural Capital Financing Facility, which provides loans and investments between €1m-€50m to cities for climate change adaptation projects. How can cities have their applications approved? Favourable factors are: well-defined projects, well-defined stakeholders and realistic capacity expectations, and the presence of a city adaptation strategy. Innovation as it relates to nature-based solutions can be useful, but innovation is not necessarily the most important criteria overall.
The event also hosted a successful ‘OED Marketplace’ including stands by ICLEI, the EEA, RESIN, RAMSES, PLACARD, the EIB, DG CLIMA and DG RESEARCH. The day concluded with the ‘Sound of Adaptation’: a collaborative improvisation by all of the conference participants and facilitated by Clara Grimes (ICLEI Europe). Four cycles of climate change challenges: storms, rain, flooding and heatwaves were created with acoustic sounds, and live recordings of the sounds created rhythmic electronic loops, creating an immersive experience where the players became increasingly aware of their part in the climate system. The effect became increasingly clamorous, as the mixture of recorded loops and acoustic sounds reached a crescendo, when the groups synced in with one another, calming down the electronic noise and leaving natural swoops and falls of a healthy and adapted climate system.
Photos are available of the conference on Flickr. Video interviews of the event with Nuno Lopes, City of Almada and Lykke Leonardsen, City of Copenhagen are available on ICLEI Europe’s YouTube channel. A full report on the conference will be made available in early autumn 2017.
17 May 2017
Glasgow City Council welcomed project partners, project cities and local stakeholders to the Lighthouse, Glasgow this morning for the first day of the Smart Mature Resilience project’s review workshop. During the morning session, the partners built on progress made at the project’s recent workshop, where European cities and a group of projects focusing on related topics met to compare tool development and discuss the optimal conditions for developing possible standards for resilience management in cities.
The SMR project is developing a Resilience Management Guideline supported by five tools, which provides a pathway to lead cities towards a more resilient future. Each tool serves a complementary purpose. The Resilience Maturity Model helps cities to identify their level of resilience maturity and helps them to identify policies that would be helpful measures towards resilience-building. The Risk Systemicity Questionnaire can bring together diverse stakeholders in a city to better understand their awareness of risk and the interrelatedness of risk. The Resilience Information Portal can provide useful software to cities, which they can use to make their communication system more resilient.
During the workshop in Glasgow, cities and scientific partners worked closely together to continue co-development of the System Dynamics Model, which is a game-like online learning tool to help strategic managers and other stakeholders involved in budgeting and strategic planning for resilience in cities identify and decide the most efficient and most strategically accurate policies to implement, and the order in which to do this.
The tool functions with an interactive interface, where users input a symbolic budget for resilience development and adjust the proportional investment in different areas regarding resilience for their city. The user can then run simulations of the effects of prioritizing investment in different areas in different order, using the tool as a kind of playground to trial methods of policy prioritization in a safe environment. Intensive collaborative sessions and exercises with TECNUN, University of Navarra and CIEM, University of Agder collected input from the SMR cities of Glasgow, Kristiansand, Donostia, Vejle, Rome, Riga and Bristol to validate the tool and ensure that it is an ideal format for immediate application and use by cities.
A further tool for Resilience Policies will then provide information, examples and case studies of the policies identified through the Resilience Maturity Model and the System Dynamics Model. The workshop will continue tomorrow with sessions hosted by the University of Strathclyde to work with cities on co-developing this tool.
Impressions of the first day are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iclei_europe/sets/72157683833382116/with/34331508890/. You can find out more about Glasgow and SMR at http://smr-project.eu/glasgow/.
16 May 2017
The RESIN project is developing an e-Guide, which is an online platform designed to provide decision support for climate change adaptation planning by city administrators. It does this by:
• Providing a structured and comprehensive overview of the various steps and activities that an urban adaptation process consists of;
• Providing practical, user-oriented support to actually perform such an adaptation process;
• Providing a portal to the most relevant sources of information and supporting methods available on the web, including the provision of new tools and methods that are currently not available;
• Providing guidance (where attainable) for choosing the best approaches, methods, tools and information sources for particular situations and particular steps;
• Providing references to evidence based information;
The development of the e-Guide has just entered a new phase. The high-level design has been finished, and is recorded in an extensive document. It describes the functions of e-Guide, its intended use, its encompassing components and how they work together. It also gives the requirements for development and describes the development and test plan.
This means that the project will now focus on the development of the e-Guide, define how it will work, what it should look like and how it will interact with the user. This work is currently being undertaken in WP6. The first mock-up versions of the e-Guide have been shown to the consortium in the Manchester GA meeting of 9 May. A process to verify and enhance these designs with potential users is currently being undertaken.