7 October 2016
A resilient city is not only made up of bricks and mortar, but of flexible systems of elements working together. This complexity has been creatively visualised online in an interactive map of short video clips. As part of RAMSES, a European-funded research project on climate impacts and adaptation strategies for cities, Climate Media Factory has condensed scientific research into a compilation of over 100 short interview sequences from 33 climate change adaptation and resilience experts.
Users can define their own way of navigating the “On Urban Resilience” platform by auto-playing videos, searching by keyword or branching off into a topic-specific strand of clips to learn more in greater detail. “On Urban Resilience” is designed to help cities to find information on climate change impacts and to explore their options for adapting to climate change and for building city resilience. Contributions by experts on adaptation and resilience from across Europe cover topics such as social adaptation, local climate change models, political commitments and how to start an adaptation strategy in cities.
Frans Berkhout of King’s College London, said: “Cities are competing more and more in terms of their climate resilience. These are risks that are real, they’re tangible, investors know about them, they care about them, and therefore cities need to wake up and start to transform their infrastructures in a climate resilient way.” “On Urban Resilience” is available online for free at http://on-urban-resilience.eu/.
For more information, visit the RAMSES website.
14 September 2016
17 cities have joined the RESIN project to exchange and collaborate with project core cities as well as ICLEI and the project's research and standardisation partners and to benefit from the project's products and tools. These cities will partner up with the core 'Tier 1 cities' according to common characteristics and challenges to work together towards climate change adaptation.
The project's core cities of Bratislava, Bilbao, Greater Manchester and Paris have been working with their RESIN partners since May 2015 on assessing their climate change adaptation needs to deal with climate-related challenges and risks. These cities work closely with their local research partners in a process of co-creation, where they collaborate on developing and piloting the project's products and tools. The Tier 2 cities will benefit from these core cities' sharing their experience of co-creating and testing the tools, and will also participate in targeted workshops and informative webinars.
The Tier 2 cities are:
Sfântu Gheorghe (Romania)
25 August 2016
The overall meeting report of the international conference Adaptation Futures 2016, practices and solutions has just been published and is available online. It contains short reports of all sessions, many pictures and key messages and impressions from the Scientific and the Practice Advisory Committees.
ICLEI Europe co-organised the high-level round table session on "Nature-based solutions" and contributed a presentation on "Co-creating climate change adaptation and resilience decision-making support tools with cities" as part of the session on "Decision Support".
TNO also presented the RESIN project was also discussed as part of science practice session "Resilient risk management strategies for critical infrastructure within cities".
24 August 2016
The “Climate Navigator” is meant to support decision-makers in cities and local authorities in circumnavigating climate risks. The revised version is now even more attuned to municipalities’ needs, making the online guide the most up-to-date tool for climate change adaptation available in Germany.
Floods, heat waves, protection from heavy rains and storms – municipalities are on the front lines of adapting to the impacts of climate change. However, the climate adaptation challenges facing municipalities are as varied as the municipalities themselves. Decision-makers from cities and local authorities must therefore come to terms with the topic of climate adaptation early on: well-planned adaptation measures don’t just prevent risks, they also save municipalities high costs and can preserve and even increase a city’s quality of life.
In the last few months, the “Climate Navigator” provided by the German Environment Agency (UBA) has undergone a comprehensive revision and been brought up to date. In early May the new version of this tool was finally introduced. The online guide is meant to support decision-makers in cities and local authorities in circumnavigating climate risks and pursuing opportunities. The revised version of the Climate Navigator is even more attuned to municipalities’ needs. Specialised prior knowledge of the effects of climate change is thus unnecessary to use the revised edition. It is immediately available in German for free download at http://www.uba.de/klimalotse.
adelphi optimised the Climate Navigator under commission of the UBA and in close cooperation with its partners Prognos and ICLEI Europe. “The Climate Navigator allows cities and local authorities to adapt to the impacts of climate change independently and according to their needs. As a result of our comprehensive revisions, the Climate Navigator is the most up-to-date instrument for small and medium-sized municipalities now available in Germany”, said Christian Kind, Senior Project Manager at adelphi and expert on climate change adaptation.
Climate Navigator leads users to a fitting strategy in five steps
The new version of the climate navigator is more flexible and takes into account many aspects of climate adaptation more deeply than before: The focus is no longer solely on creating an adaptation strategy; users are now supported much more in developing integrated climate protection and adaptation strategies. The instrument supports cities and local authorities through five modules to reach three different goals: as needed, they can (1) develop a simple adaptation strategy, (2) create an integrated climate protection and adaptation strategy, or (3) plan and implement measures for adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Alongside the comprehensive update of the guide, the topics “Financing Adaptation Measures” and “Strategy Creation and Integration” have been particularly expanded and attuned to practices in the municipalities. Legal developments have been added, and a multitude of tips and suggestions from Climate Navigator users have been taken up. To help users more quickly orientate themselves, picture galleries illustrate the technical information with the help of examples and documents from individual municipalities. This allows users to find a range of council decisions on the implementation of adaptation processes, maps on city climates, approaches for inter-municipal cooperation, and successfully implemented strategies.
Municipal decision-makers can find and download tested templates on the website of the German Environment Agency; for example, for documenting past extreme events, or a blueprint for generating a strategy. The Climate Navigator provides assistance for working on especially challenging tasks, for example with tips given by actors from the field, or in the form of links to other instruments.
You can find the updated Climate Navigator, further materials, and the associated newsletter at www.uba.de/klimalotse.
22 August 2016
Bilbao, one of the largest cities in the Basque Country, has seen heavier rainfall, warmer winters and a heightened flood risk as a result of climate change. Bilbao is addressing these risks through participation in the international research project, ‘RESIN – Climate Resilience Cities and Infrastructures’, in which the city works with researchers to find ways to adapt to climate-related challenges.
Since the 1970s, Zorrotzaurre to the north of Bilbao had been on a continuous social and industrial decline, with only 500 people living on the peninsula at its lowest point. Today, it is the city’s biggest regeneration project. This started with the re-designation of land use in the area from ‘industrial’ to ‘residential’ in 1995. The Zorrotzaurre Master Plan was then drawn up to open the Deusto Canal, making the Zorrotzaurre peninsula into an island. The open canal and green banks will let river water flow through, reducing the water level by one metre and significantly reducing the risk of flooding. Three storm water tanks and a new flood protection wall along both riverbanks are also planned, which will help protect riverside housing.
A study conducted by the RESIN partners from the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) found that as a result of the new waterway the 10-year return period for expected flood events will no longer apply, resulting in a 100 percent reduction in expected costs. For the 100-year return period, the estimated damages will be reduced by €162.72 million. Excavation works are already underway and expected to be completed by spring 2017.
For more information, visit resin-cities.eu. [This article is also available in Spanish.]
11 August 2016
ICLEI Member City Glasgow (UK) is set to create Scotland’s largest urban heritage and Nature Park, investing £6.8 million to create a green area that will encompass 16km² of lochs (lakes), parks, nature reserves and woodlands. The project will also see the development of walking and cycling routes and improvements to paths and signage within the park, allowing people to better experience the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
"The Seven Lochs Wetland Park is an exemplar of Green Network planning and delivery. It is a place with an abundance of natural resources; important natural habitats, historic sites and established places for recreation. This major new urban wildlife park will be the jewel in the crown of the wider Green Network and bring a host of benefits for local people and visitors alike,” said Max Hislop, Programme Manager for the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership.
Glasgow is a core city of Smart Mature Resilience, a multi-disciplinary research project working for more resilient cities in Europe. The city works closely together with scientists to develop Glasgow’s resilience against hazards and challenges brought on by climate change. Glasgow is particularly working on addressing flood risk management, water issues and drainage. Urban wildlife areas provide cities with a wide variety of environmental, social and economic benefits. Making the most of the park to meet, learn and exercise together will help to strengthen communities and improve Glaswegians’ health. The natural wetlands and open green spaces can also help to absorb excess water in the case of flooding, taking Glasgow a step further on its path towards resilience.
For more information, visit sevenlochs.org.
19 July 2016
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published a new report entitled ‘Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 – transforming cities in a changing climate’. The report provides an in-depth overview of the actions that urban planners and policymakers can take to reduce the impact of climate change, and stresses the benefits of investing in long-term preventive measures. ICLEI Europe is a co-author of the report and also supported the EEA in coordinating its production.
European cities are increasingly susceptible to the negative aspects of climate change, which are expected to increase in frequency and intensity with extreme events such as heatwaves, flooding, water scarcity and droughts. At the same time, social, economic and demographic changes can make cities more vulnerable. These can greatly impact a wide range of city functions, infrastructure and services such as energy, transport and water, and will affect urban quality of life.
The report recommends that to meet these challenges, cities must take a wider systemic approach that addresses the root causes of vulnerability to climate change. This includes better urban planning, with more green areas that can retain excess rainwater or cool dense city centres in hot weather, or by preventing the construction of houses in flood-prone areas. This approach can transform cities into much more attractive, climate-resilient and sustainable places to live and work.
For more information and to read the report, visit eea.europa.eu
12 July 2016
Representatives from European cities met in Bonn (Germany) on 5 July to discuss their experiences and successful strategies for adapting to climate change at the 3rd Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities. The event was attended by over 120 cities and climate change adaptation experts. As resilience development is not only a response to the challenges caused by climate change but also an opportunity to mitigate climate change and reduce risk, the importance of taking a holistic approach was a recurring theme. As noted by Jerry Velasquez of UNISDR, while cities are engines of growth, they are also driving increases in risk.
Amongst many first-hand contributions by cities, Marie Gantois shared Paris’ (France) successful experience with refurbishing and retrofitting buildings to save energy and improve thermal comfort. Jonathan Sadler demonstrated how green infrastructure has been the key to driving green growth in the City of Manchester (UK). Thessaloniki (Greece) gained the public’s support for resilience measures by communicating the relationship between resilience and the issues most affecting citizens: employment and the economy. Further examples of cities’ input are included in an animated video from the day. The event report will be published after the summer break.
The closing session of the event saw the launch of the European Environment Agency report Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016. The 3rd Open European Day was organised by ICLEI and the European Environment Agency and co-organised by the Placard and RESIN projects, and supported by the European Commission - DG CLIMA and DG Research, and the European Investment Bank.
For more information, visit the Open European Day website.
31 May 2016
The new Open European Day (OED) programme has been released, providing details of how the event will facilitate discussion and exchange of experience on climate resilience between cities. Set to take place in Bonn (Germany) on 5 July, the event will precede the opening of the Resilient Cities conference. Cities contributing to the Open Day include London (United Kingdom), Paris (France), Madrid (Spain), Thessaloniki (Greece), Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne (United Kingdom), Bologna (Italy) and many more.
The OED is supported by key EU projects on climate resilience such as RESIN and PLACARD and by European institutions including the European Investment Bank, DG CLIMA and DG Research. These institutions, together with other key adaptation players, will share information on climate support opportunities for cities and will be available for discussion during the Marketplace session.
Topics to be discussed during the event include climate services, nature-based solutions, mainstreaming adaptation and financing adaptation. The European Environment Agency Report "Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016” will be launched at the evening reception. The event is free of charge and online registration is now available. Places are limited, so early registration is recommended
For more information and to register, click here.
13 May 2016
RESIN partners played a number of active roles this week in the 4th International Climate Change Adaptation Conference (Adaptation Futures) in Rotterdam. ICLEI co-organised the high-level round table session "Nature-based solutions in cities" on Tuesday 10 May 2016, focussing on the benefits motivating cities to promote and implement nature based solutions, concrete examples of how to quantify the costs and benefits of green solutions and infrastructure over standard solutions and how research and innovation can stimulate decision-making in cooperation with cities to foster transformation toward sustainability. The presentation is available now on the Adaptation Futures website.
TNO discussed the RESIN project as part of science practice session "Resilient risk management strategies for critical infrastructure within cities" on Wednesday 11 May 2016 in the context of experiences from the INTACT project (network interdependencies) and with reactions from the city of Rotterdam. The presentation is available on the Adaptation Futures website. Additionally, ICLEI introduced RESIN as part of a presentation during Adaptation Futures on "Co-creating climate change adaptation and resilience decision-making support tools with cities" as part of the session "Decision support" on Wednesday 11 May. The presentation is available here.
ICLEI also presented the RESIN project at the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, held in the RESIN project city of Bilbao and also attended by RESIN partners from the City of Bilbao, project partners Tecnalia and the Basque Centre for Climate Change. The conference was attended by 880 representatives of local and regional governments, European and international institutions, multilateral organisations, members of the research community, business leaders, and civil society. The conference demonstrated the urgent need for actions by local governments in shaping Europe’s future.