Latest News

30 March 2017

New tool 'Risk Systemicity Questionnaire' launched

SMR has completed and shared its latest tool, the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire (RSQ), which is now available to cities. The RSQ is an Excel based tool where users are asked to consider the relative likelihood of a broad range of risks in their cities. These risks are spread across 9 topics: health, climate change (air pollution), climate change (flooding), social inequalities, ageing (population), riots, immigration, social cohesion and social alienation and are considered as networks of interrelated risks. These networks of risks are presented as risk scenarios, some of which result in vicious cycles. Users progress through the tool by completing questions which ask them to consider whether defined risks scenarios are likely or not to occur in their cities.

Based on the responses to the questions contained in each of the topics of the RSQ, participants are provided with a relative risk score (an estimated risk level for the city) and an awareness score (the level of knowledge the city has about the possible risk scenarios). In addition to this, users can access policies recommendations that may be used to address those risk scenarios that are of most threat to the city.

Not only does completing the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire help cities to assess their exposure to risk, but it also indicates their level of awareness of risk and where cities should prioritise their efforts. The purpose of the questionnaire is for it to be used by groups of users with diverse areas of expertise so that it can prompt valuable discussions where different stakeholders’ experiences can be brought together to determine a city’s priorities to enable them to anticipate and appropriately respond to future challenges.

28 March 2017

Berlin workshop to empower cities to use standards in their resilience management

Standardisation is quickly becoming a key approach in resilience management and in climate change management for cities, but it is often not easy for cities to know where to start. The Smart Mature Resilience project will hold a workshop next week in Berlin to help to respond to cities’ queries and to empower them to take the next steps in using standards in their resilience management next week in DIN, Berlin, Germany. The workshop will include insights from the cutting-edge European projects working on the latest resilience and climate change adaptation science: SMR, DARWIN, IMPROVER, RESILIENS, RESO-LUTE, Resccue, RESIN, SmartResilience, as well as expert presentations from standardization committees ‘Security and Resilience’ and ‘Sustainable cities and communities’.

Following the presentations, the afternoon will focus on the cities themselves and their experience, discussing the challenges and needs of cities and communities for becoming more resilient and exploring possible solutions and good practices. Finally, a gap analysis will help to boost cities ambitious plans to make the most of existing standards to plan strategic resilience management that is coherent with their peer cities and will help to provide a robust foundation for their citizens.

Cities can still register for the workshop at http://smr-project.eu/news/events/berlin-workshop/.

27 March 2017

Open European Day to put cities centre-stage to work together on adaptation

As European citizens enjoy the first sunny days of spring, city planners and climate experts reflect on last winter’s flooding and storms and consider the heatwaves that are likely to hit European cities this summer. Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities will bring European cities together to discuss their common challenges and share their successful solutions in a uniquely interactive event that sees cities taking centre stage and sharing cases from their most recent experiences in a conversational format. Innovation, co-creation and transformation in cities are the events three main themes for the event and will frame the opening plenary, facilitated by organizers ICLEI Europe and the European Environment Agency, and with contributions by the Committee of the Regions, DG Clima, DG Research and the European Investment Bank.

The event will include interactive workshops where cities will present a real-life challenge and during the workshop, participants will explore solutions to these challenges. On the topic of innovation, participants will discuss examples from Bologna (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal) of innovative financing for climate adaptation and Guimarães (Portugal) will share its experiences with innovation in multi-purpose nature-based solutions. On the topic of co-creation, Athens (Greece) will contribute on citizens as drivers of change, Greater London (UK) on adaptation and social inclusion and Vagos (Portugal), Valka (Latvia) and the Life DERRIS project will discuss co-creation with research and business.

Bratislava (Slovakia) and next year’s European Green Capital of Nijmegen (Netherlands) will share their impressions of how transformation manifests in a physical sense in their cities, and a final Covenant of Mayors session on city transformation through administration will include contributions by Bilbao (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark).

Attendance at the Open European Day is free of charge to cities and registration is now open. A draft programme is now available on the Bonn Resilient Cities website at http://resilientcities2017.iclei.org/open-european-day/.

16 March 2017

Coping with complexity, handling uncertainty

In their endeavours to increase the climate resilience of cities, urban administrators, planners and decision makers have to deal with considerable uncertainty and complexity. The effects of climate change in terms of the impact of extreme weather events and the frequencies and intensities with which they occur are uncertain. Consequences in terms of associated risks to cities, for their infrastructures and inhabitants, depend very much on preparations that cities have in place or are planning for, to cope with these phenomena. Moreover, uncertainties arise from cascading effect, due to (un)foreseen relations between different urban areas, stakeholders or adaptation measures.

Despite these considerable uncertainties, decision makers have to act. Although the terms uncertainty, risk management and complexity are widely used in the policy making domain, there is little appreciation for the fact that there are many different dimensions of uncertainty, and there is a lack of understanding about their different characteristics, relative magnitudes, and available means of dealing with them. This results in cities experiencing difficulties in how to deal with uncertainty and complexity, which nevertheless must be acknowledged and integrated into

policy making for the future.

RESIN has produced a document that aims to break down complexity and uncertainty into understandable definitions and aspects in the context of urban climate resilience. This improves the ability of linking methods and instruments to deal with complexity and uncertainty with the particular challenges that arise. Climate change policies in general are very reliant on uncertainty management. This means that the choice of

risk and uncertainty management strategy should be carefully weighed against the particular “uncertainty or complexity challenge” that is at stake. This effort should be seen as the starting point of addressing the issues of uncertainty and complexity in the RESIN project. It provides city planners in general with an overview of methods and tools they can use to handle complexity and uncertainty. The methods and instruments presented in this report will be selectively discussed and applied within the RESIN cities.

13 March 2017

European cities and communities need resilience

Cities in Europe are facing increasing challenges and threats to citizens' safety and stability. Climate change is flooding homes and causing unprecedented storms, and cities are struggling to provide accommodation and support to their elderly and refugees fleeing war. Scientists and cities have been working intensively across Europe to investigate how to best provide cities with the support they need to enhance their cities and communities to be sustainable, resilient and prepared to handle the hazards ahead. European research projects working on the topic of resilience will come together at a unique workshop in Berlin to present their progress and discuss with cities their challenges and needs for becoming more resilient as well as sharing effective solutions and best practices.

The workshop is organised by DIN and will be held in the DIN premises in Berlin. In the final session of the workshop, standardisation will be discussed, and the way in which the development of standards can potentially support the resilience-building process in cities.

Limited travel support is available to city representatives for attending the workshop. For more information, please see the SMR website.

6 March 2017

San Sebastian Mayor hails cities as the ideal scale for developing resilience

Eneko Goia, Mayor of San Sebastian, welcomed the Smart Mature Resilience project to San Sebastian City Hall on 6th March 2017, emphasizing that “cities are the ideal scale for working on resilience”. Resilience-building is crucial to for San Sebastian, as the coastal city is already experiencing the consequences of climate change, particularly flooding. As the mayor joked, “The sea wants to recover all of those places we took in the past!” The project is developing a new Resilience Management Guideline, which helps cities to make the right decisions and policies to build resilience. This guideline is designed to be useable not only by the project cities, but by all European and global cities. Resilient cities support one another and bolster each other’s ability to recover from shocks and stresses.

“We are building the boat and sailing,” in the words of project coordinator Jose Mari Sarriegi, Tecnun, University of Navarra: the project partners, scientists and cities of San Sebastian, Glasgow, Kristiansand, Bristol, Vejle, Rome and Riga collaborate closely on developing the tools. Two of the tools are complete and are now available for use by cities: the Resilience Maturity Model and the Resilience Information Portal . A Risk Systemicity Questionnaire has been developed and tested in cooperation with the project cities, and this will be launched in the coming months.

The final two tools, the Resilience Policies Portfolio and the System Dynamics Model, are currently being developed. The System Dynamics Model is a game-style simulation programme that allows users to explore the effectiveness of implementing different resilience policies, helping to show which kinds of policies should be implemented in which order as the ideal trajectory towards a resilient city. The project partners and stakeholders are working on testing the model during the San Sebastian meeting, following which the tool developers will integrate the feedback gathered into the final, public version of the tool.

For information in Spanish, please see here.

For more information, please see www.smr-project.eu.