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27 November 2018

Completing the cycle: the final newsletter of the RESIN project

RESIN - Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures has come to a successful end following 3.5 years of intensive co-creative collaboration between European cities, researchers, ICLEI and NEN working for enhanced climate adaptation planning and practice in European cities.

The final newsletter of the project has been published, with news and outcomes of the final conference of the RESIN project, news from Bratislava and Bilbao, the final outcomes, tools and publications, some messages from our RESIN cities Bilbao, Bratislava, Greater Manchester and Paris, and an update on the next event where RESIN will be featured, at a side event of COP24 in Katowice, Poland on 11th December 2018.

You can find this and previous newsletters at http://www.resin-cities.eu/ newsroom/newsletter/.

Thank you for following the RESIN project and we look forward to continue to exchange with you on climate resilient cities and infrastructures in Europe in the future!

30 October 2018

Building a climate resilient city in Bratislava

The Slovak Republic’s capital is located right at the heart of Europe, bordered by Austria and Hungary on both sides of the Danube River, the second-longest river in Europe, and is the country’s political, economic and cultural centre. The city is nestled between the Little Carpathian Mountains to the north and the Danube Lowland to the south.

The population is relatively young compared to other European capitals, the mortality rate is low, and a high proportion of households is made up of families. Bratislava’s workforce is highly educated, with over 24% of adults educated to third level. The city is still growing, but the population is set to decline over the next ten years.

The future seems bright for Bratislava, but its sheltered location in the centre of continental Europe leaves the city vulnerable to the effects of climate change. After decades of temperate weather, Bratislava is suffering from increasingly scorching summers. Summer 2018 was the worst year yet for heatwaves. After having recorded a record drought in 2017, the city was also struck this summer by extreme precipitation.  

Adaptation measures

Bratislava is working to adapt to the effects of climate change with a number of measures intended to keep citizens cool, keep air conditioning costs low and soak up excess rain water before it can flood the streets.
Some of the measures intended to adapt to hot temperatures and heavy rain bring additional benefits with them. Elderly people are one of the most vulnerable groups during periods of extreme heat. Bratislava has constructed a green roof on an elderly people’s home, thereby improving the green space ratio and improving air quality and thermal comfort for its senior citizens, as well as helping prevent the building from overheating, improving biodiversity and cooling the surrounding area.
Collaboration with European peers

Beyond these practical local projects, Bratislava has looked to ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and its peers in cities across Europe as well as scientific climate experts to push its ability to adapt to climate change forward. In 2015, Bratislava linked up with the cities of Bilbao (Spain), Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) and Paris (France) as part of the European-funded RESIN project to develop new methods to adapt to climate change. These cities are thinking beyond the recent immediate climate phenomena that we are seeing across Europe; dried-out parks, water shortages and extreme wind; and have come together to plan for long-term uncertainty decades in advance, and to bring other European cities along with them.

As part of this project, the Office of the Chief Architect of Bratislava is working on completing its first qualitative vulnerability assessment using the RESIN project’s ‘Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas’ (IVAVIA) tool. This tool was produced as part of the RESIN project by Fraunhofer IAIS in a process of co-creation with the cities, aiming to produce the most practically-applicable method possible to be used as part of the daily work of municipal authorities and city governments in Europe.

Municipal authorities need to be able to map, analyse and communicate the impact of climate trends and weather events on key elements of a city’s physical, social and economic fabric, and the methodology provides a way to do this. Using the IVAVIA methodology helps cities to understand and visualise the cause-and-effect relationships of climate change, to identify geographical risk and vulnerability hotspots, to assess the demographic, economic and local impacts of climate change now and in the future and to identify entry-points for adaptation measures and areas where priority action is needed.

“We used IVAVIA to map risk exposure to climate threats at a detailed neighbourhood scale, and the Adaptation Options Library (in combination with Climact Prio) to identify and rank 63 adaptation actions. This information will be used in our local adaptation strategy, to be launched later this year,” said Miguel Gonzalez Vara, City of Bilbao.

Making Bratislava less vulnerable to climate change

During a first workshop in Bratislava in 2017, staff and stakeholders of the city of Bratislava addressed extreme heat and precipitation, heat waves, the risk of urban heat islands and its implications to human health and wellbeing and created impact chains demonstrating these relationships. An impact chain was also produced that focused on the vulnerability of green infrastructure of the city towards periods of droughts.

The city is working with Fraunhofer IAIS and Bratislava’s Faculty of Natural Sciences to elaborate impact chains on extreme heat and precipitation. When this is complete, this will allow the city to visualize its vulnerability and risk on a map, or to score the city’s boroughs in terms of sensitivity or capacity to cope with climate impacts.

In August 2018, a core group of the city of Bratislava’s stakeholders including external experts met to review the first outcomes of the vulnerability and risk assessment of the city on extreme summer temperatures and precipitation. A final workshop was held on August 21, 2018 where relevant departments of the City, the Bratislava Water Company and external stakeholders, such as experts from the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, National Centre for Healthcare Information of the Slovak Republic, the Bratislava self-governing region participated and Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava.  

Chief Architect

“We are very excited to be involved in the co-creation process of RESIN tools, such as the IVAVIA and the adaptation options library. Assessing the vulnerability of your city to the different impacts of climate change is a very complex task. When Bratislava started with the RESIN project, the city already had an outline of the different impacts and related vulnerable sectors thanks to the Strategy for adaptation which was adopted by the City in 2014. But in order to know where to implement adaptation measures – and what adaptation measures are best suitable, we need precise evidence-based information and tools – such as maps to help us plan our adaptation work more efficiently. We are also translating the Adaptation library to Slovak language to support our colleagues working in the city´s and boroughs´ administration to in choosing the most efficient adaptation measures for a given area or development project,” said Ingrid Konrad, Chief Architect, City of Bratislava.

The Office of the Chief Architect is now working on finalizing the risk-based vulnerability assessment based on the results of the most recent workshop, and to adapt its vulnerability and risk maps to the needs of urban and strategic planners.

Sharing results with Europe

Ingrid Konrad, Bratislava’s Chief Architect, discussed this progress in Brussels on 9th October 2018 during at the “Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures 2018”. At this event, Bratislava and its city peers from Manchester, Bilbao and Paris shared the results of their brand new co-developed tools, including an e-Guide to adaptation strategy development, a methodology for vulnerability and risk assessment, a map-based typology of climate risk in European regions and a library of adaptation options. The event took place during the European Week of Cities and Regions.

This article first appeared in the 'Sustain Europe' magazine.

29 October 2018

The RESIN project comes to a successful close, opens the floor to research teams from RESCCUE and BRIGAID

Just days after the IPCC published its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, setting a new urgency for climate action within the next 12 years, the RESIN team gathered in Brussels for the project's final event. Effective climate action is a long term proposition, demanding cooperation and knowledge sharing across disciplinary and geographical borders. The RESIN project has progressively added to its network throughout the project, added 17 cities to its ‘Circle of Sharing and Learning,’ and included many more colleagues and peers in its collaborative community. For the final conference, the team invited three other Horizon 2020-funded projects to collaborate on the event “Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructure 2018”: two ongoing projects, RESCCUE and BRIGAID, and a third that has been recently completed: EU-CIRCLE. All four projects are linked by a common concern for building climate resilience in European cities. Not only was this an occasion to share the findings of the RESIN project, but also to help establish a legacy for the work to date, and to explore new avenues to carry it forward. Over 100 people took part in the event, many of them representing municipalities that it is hoped will take up the RESIN tools in their day-to-day work. When it started in 2015, the RESIN project sought to address the following broad issues:

1.     Cities were in need of decision support tools for climate adaptation planning

2.     Risk assessment was not comparable between cities in Europe

3.     No standardised collection of adaptation options was available

These were reflected on in the opening plenary discussion, where the project’s key outputs were introduced by RESIN research partners and a representative from the City of Ghent, who has followed the project as part of the RESIN ‘Circle of Sharing and Learning’. The audience also heard from Arnoldas Milukas (Head of Unit, H2020 Environment and Resources, EASME), Peter Bosch (RESIN project coordinator, TNO), Marc Velasco (Aquatec – SUEZ Advanced Solutions, RESCCUE project) and Ingrid Konrad (Chief City Architect, City of Bratislava).

“The RESIN project provides us with international know-how. Adopting the Adaptation Options Library was welcomed as a modern tool for city planning, its test version online is already available in the Slovak language and will be made available to the public within the framework of the RESIN project.” - Ingrid Konrad (Chief Architect, City of Bratislava)

Two blocks of parallel sessions then explored these outputs in greater depth: the urban adaptation e-Guide, the European Climate Risk Typology, the IVAVIA impact and risk assessment methodology, and the Adaptation Options Library. One session titled ‘Find the gaps: Where will adaptation research go from here?’ looked towards the future research landscape, with potential directions identified being more meaningful climate impact indicators at the city scale and improved multi-level governance. A stronger focus on action-oriented research approaches involving social scientists could support such an agenda.

In the closing discussion, project coordinator Peter Bosch (TNO) noted that international policy frameworks and local action are moving closer together. While at the beginning of RESIN many people working in cities seemed not to know what the Sendai framework was, “now, on a very practical level, people are realising that there is the need to link the energy transition to climate adaptation and on the city level to translate the SDGs to something tangible.”

A photo gallery of the event is available on Flickr. A full report on the final conference is available on the RESIN website.  

6 September 2018

Newly published: The RESIN decision support tools for climate change adaptation

Three  practical  tools and methods have been developed as part of the RESIN project, along with an overarching decision support   framework, to aid cities in understanding climate risk, and in designing and implementing climate adaptation strategies for their local contexts.

The RESIN urban adaptation e-Guide is an online platform that supports the entire process of developing and implementing an adaptation plan. The European Climate Risk Typology is an interactive map that helps you to visualise, describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. IVAVIA is a risk-based impact and vulnerability analysis methodology  to assess climate-related risks and their effects. The Adaptation Options Library is a database of all kinds of adaptation measures, covering climate risks including flooding, heat stress and drought. 

The new handbook guides practitioners in the use of the RESIN tools and takes the reader through the steps towards urban climate adaptation.

4 September 2018

Cities to unveil new ways to plan for climate change at Brussels conference

How do you plan for the unknown? Cities are one of the top contributors to climate change worldwide, and they are also the areas hit hardest by the extreme weather, pressure on infrastructure and unpredictable disasters triggered by the changing climate.

Four cities, Bilbao (Spain), Bratislava (Slovakia), Greater Manchester (United Kingdom) and ICLEI Member Paris (France), have been working with researchers and ICLEI Europe since 2015 to develop new methods to adapt to climate change. These cities have gone beyond reacting to the effects that we are seeing across Europe: brown parks, water shortages and shocking storms, and are planning for long-term uncertainty decades in advance.

At “Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures 2018”, which will take place 9 October 2018 in Brussels (Belgium), the cities will share the results of their brand new co-developed tools, including an e-Guide to adaptation strategy development, a methodology for vulnerability and risk assessment, a map-based typology of climate risk in European regions and a library of adaptation options.

“The Adaptation Options Library is an easy-to-use and educational tool for both developing an adaptation strategy and implementing it. On the one hand, it can be used by practitioners such as architects and landscape planners for different small-scale projects (at the building level), and on the other, by urban planners and resilience officers to design an adaptation strategy and select the right measures,” said Eva Streberova (City of Bratislava). Ingrid Konrad, Bratislava’s Chief Architect, will speak about the city’s climate adaptation progress through the RESIN project.

Interactive sessions will guide local governments to forge new partnerships based on common climate risk characteristics, and will offer research scientists a space to plan future research into climate change adaptation.

The conference is co-organised by the RESCCUE project and will feature project coordinator Pere Malgrat (Aquatec - SUEZ Advanced Solutions). A closing panel including Aleksandra Kazmierczak (European Environment Agency) and Roger Street (Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford) will consider the policy implications of cities’ need for meaningful climate adaptation action.

The conference is free of charge and registration is open until 2 October 2018. For more information, click here.

24 July 2018

Supporting climate adaptation with the RESIN tools in Bilbao and the Basque region: reporting back on the 2nd Stakeholder Dialogue

Over 70 participants, including representatives of at least 20 local and regional governments, met in Bilbao (Spain) on 5th July 2018 for the second Stakeholder Dialogue of the RESIN project. Bilbao is a core RESIN city and has also been collaborating closely with the Basque Government on climate change adaptation measures. Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Mobility and Sustainability for the City of Bilbao, Alfonso Gil, welcomed the participants who had travelled to his city from across Spain and Europe, and as far away as Melbourne.

Speakers from the Basque Government emphasised how important it is to communicate with municipalities. “They need to let us know what we can help them with,” said María Aranzazu Leturiondo, Deputy Minister of Territorial Planning.

Susana Ruiz, Urban Planning Technician, City of Bilbao called for regulation to support municipalities in their adaptation work: “I would like to make a call to the authorities: It would be wonderful to have supra-municipal regulation from the autonomous region or from the state.”

For Aitor Zulueta, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change, “Adaptation to climate change is avoiding risks. It is a tool to anticipate economic problems… We need to adapt ourselves to avoid these kinds of risks, like the landslide in Bizkaya.” Intense rainfall triggered a landslide in Larrabetzu in February this year, dumping 100,000m3 of earth, causing traffic havoc due to the blocked road and trapping three people.

“Climate change is actually already happening in Paris,” said Marie Gantois, Project leader for adaptation to climate change, Climate and Energies Department of the City of Paris. The city suffered intensely under the heatwave nicknamed “Lucifer” in 2017, as well as a drought in 2017, thunderstorms in 2018 and flooding of the river Seine in spring 2018: “That was really unanticipated.”

Following the plenary discussion, participants explored the RESIN tools and methodologies in parallel sessions. For supporting the cycle of climate change adaptation decision-making, Gantois and RESIN research partner TNO led the exchange of city experiences and introduced the RESIN e-Guide’s potential to help make an adaptation plan. Mikel González Vara, City of Bilbao, along with representatives from Fraunhofer and the University of Manchester looked into diagnosing risk with the IVAVIA vulnerability assessment methodology and the online map-based European Climate Risk Typology. As the city of Zadar noted, the Climate Risk Typology could help identify other cities with similar climate risks. A new guidance document for IVAVIA has just been published and is available on the RESIN website, which includes advice on using IVAVIA in different ways, depending on resources available – an important lesson arising from working with the RESIN cities and their different needs and capacities.

The city of Bratislava and Tecnalia presented the Adaptation Options Library as a means to help prioritise adaptation measures and design incremental pathways for adaptation action. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Arcadis shared their work on creating ‘bankable’ opportunities to accelerate city resilience, based on recognising the value of adaptation measures and encouraging investment from those who can expect to later profit from publicly-funded developments. As Eric Schellekens, Arcadis said, “There is a lot more profit that you could capture and that you can have invested at the start of your project.”

New cities discovered the RESIN project in Bilbao and were impressed with the research, tools and methodologies developed. Raffaella Gueze, City of Bologna was one municipal representative discovering the project for the first time. “I found the RESIN tools very interesting and I want to try to apply the tools in my city with the implementation of our adaptation plan,” said Ms. Gueze.

The municipal representatives present agreed that climate adaptation progress depends on cooperation and communication: with citizens, with researchers, with the private sector, but most importantly, with each other. As RESIN project coordinator Peter Bosch suggested in his closing words, “Take that time to drink a cup of coffee with people from various departments before rushing in to develop your strategy… It takes years to get the full administrative setting around you... for moving towards adaptation: but it pays off.”

A photo gallery of the event is available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/iclei_europe/albums/72157696058386602.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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/.

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.

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.

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

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

 

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.

20 March 2018

Cities are where global problems can be solved: outcomes of the 27th Breakfast at Sustainability’s – Boosting local progress in city resilience development

Representatives of over 30 cities and regions in Europe, the European Commission and scientific experts on resilience attended the 27th edition of ICLEI Europe’s Breakfast at Sustainability’s series. The event was hosted by the European office of the Basque Country and a welcome address was provided by – Ignacio de la Puerta, Director for Urban Planning of the Basque Government. A brief introduction to the Smart Mature Resilience project and its tools was provided by Vasileios Latinos, ICLEI Europe.

Mr de la Puerta emphasised in his words of welcome the need to provide space and quality of life for Basque residents. An integrated action plan, as well as participation in numerous local, regional and international projects and programmes, such as Donostia/San Sebastián’s participation in the Smart Mature Resilience Project are addressing this need. The path is a shared one and cities in Europe are welcome to join the Basque Country on this journey by considering the pathways towards transformative action laid out in the Basque Declaration.

Cities must work together in a coordinated way towards long-term resilience goals. For Ben Caspar, Team Leader for Urban Environment for the European Commission’s DG Environment, cities have enormous potential to overcome global challenges. The Pact of Amsterdam has made funding streams easier to understand and has led to enhanced support and cooperation between the European Commission and city networks. As well as funding the European Commission offers other resources to cities, including online tools, such as a new portal planned to be launched during Green Week. Ronny Frederickx, Former President and Good Governance Project Leader, UDITE considered resilience from the perspective of good governance, and warned that lack of trust in political leaders, lack of capacity and ‘segregation in craftsmanship’ or lack of cooperation as drivers of risk. He called for a good governance approach in order to overcome these challenges, as well as for a triangle between science, education and practice.

The innovative and inspiring “Room for the river Waal” project saw attitudes among citizens to the large-scale project turn from hostility and resistance, to sentiments among citizens of pride and ownership of the project. Ton Verhoeven, Arnhem Nijmegen City Region, Netherlands shared how this was achieved through intensive communication and engagement of stakeholders.

Glasgow and Rome are working together on their resilience journey: both cities are part of the Smart Mature Resilience project as well as ICLEI members and members of 100 Resilient Cities. Frankie Barrett, Glasgow City Council and Claudio Bordi, Risorse per Roma. Public authorities in Glasgow are as of recently obliged to involve communities as part of their work, and ongoing projects range across numerous topical areas, for example food security and land use. In Glasgow’s experience, "When citizens are not involved in the plan, it will fail." Rome has used a tool produced by the Smart Mature Resilience project, the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire, to hold cross-sectoral meetings with a goal to break silos and better understand risk.

Annette Figueiredo, Greater London Authority described a recently concluded audit of school air quality in London. Poor air quality has detrimental effects on children’s learning, and a survey revealed that over 360 schools were in poor air quality areas. The Mayor of London, as part of a vision to clean up London’s air received a petition from Greenpeace signed by 303 teachers calling for better air quality near schools, and fifty schools were selected.  The project involved the cooperation of the relevant boroughs, Transport for London, Public Health and other Greater London Authority programmes working with schools, researchers and academics. The collected data will be used in the schools’ curricula so that students can understand how it affects their lives.

For the second part of the day, Serene Hanania, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, invited cities to participate in an interactive workshop. Discussion groups considered topics such as heat waves, flood risks, social issues and emergency response and exchanged their experiences from their respective cities on the topics. The SMR project representatives then demonstrated how the tools co-produced in the project by cities and researchers could support the newcomer cities in overcoming the challenges they raised in the discussions.

In terms of flooding, cross-departmental silos were found to be a major challenge in British cities, as management of water courses was not closely linked to response mechanisms, and vulnerable groups were found to be more exposed to flood risk. Here, Nijmegen could explain their unique case, where better communication on water planning and management is possible due to Dutch water boards. The SMR City Resilience Dynamics tool was mentioned in a possible application to measure surface water interventions.

On the subject of heat waves, desertification and the benefits of reforestation were discussed for cities in Spain. In Italy, paradoxically, abandonment of agricultural areas and increase of rain has led to natural reforestation. The most vulnerable cities to heat waves were considered to be Athens and Rome. Here, the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire was recommended, as awareness of the risk of heat waves seriously underestimates the real mortality rate among elderly people during periods of extreme heat. Malmö, Sweden, expressed the benefits of exchanging with Southern cities with cultural experience of caring for the elderly during heat waves, as heat stress is becoming an increasing problem for Malmö. Here, better access to data on mortality rates would be helpful to gain political support for, elderly, patient and hospice care to take additional measures during heat waves.

A common feature of the cities was the importance of involving volunteers and NGOs in emergency response. While cities and municipalities must adhere to standards, guidelines and norms for emergency response, citizens can step in and provide non-professional support magnanimously, for example providing unofficial transport and meals to refugees. Dedicated policies for involving NGOs and volunteers are included in the Resilience Maturity Model.

IT solutions offer interesting innovative ways to prevent food waste and to build communities in new way. Representative democracy and transparent decision-making were considered to be crucial foundations for social resilience. Decreasing vulnerability is intricately connected to employment, and in the case of French regions, citizens can become alienated as a result of unemployment. 

The cities present shared many aspects and practices around emergency response. Most cities had emergency plans and the same way of responding to an emergency. Malmö provided another perspective, for example, that experts were called in the event of a crisis. In each of the cities, in many cases, those working in emergency response have other responsibilities under normal circumstances, where response takes preference over these duties during a crisis. Risk assessment was considered essential, and the SMR Risk Systemicity Questionnaire is available to be used as part of this process.

A photo gallery of the event is available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmeXRgWi.

19 March 2018

European cities are working against the clock to adapt to the new climate reality

City council teams in Bratislava (Slovakia) and Manchester (UK) have teamed up with the cities of Paris (France), Bilbao (Spain), top European researchers,  and city network ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability to make their cities and critical infrastructures more resilient to the impacts of climate change.  

A new short film has been launched today showing how Manchester and Bratislava are working with a team of cities and scientists to help municipalities to adapt to a rapidly-changing climate. A second period of unprecedented snow across Europe this weekend following the “Beast from the East” earlier this month has shown that extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

“What was good enough in the past, and maybe 10 years ago, it’s not enough for the future,” said Martina Tichá, Head of Project Management Unit, Strategy and Projects Department at Bratislava City Hall. Bratislava, where an orange alert was raised due to freezing temperatures this Saturday, can expect extreme heat as early as May this year.

As most of Europe’s population lives in cities, city councils across Europe desperately need new ways of working to understand the risks they face and to prepare for the unknown. “The decision makers in Greater Manchester need to know key issues and why they should do something about it,” said Matthew Ellis, Climate Resilience Officer, Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

“Every job within a local authority will be impacted by climate change in the future: every decision that's made will need to take account of what the future climate change risks might be,” said Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

RESIN - Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures has been developing innovative tools in a process of ‘co-creation’ between cities, climate scientists and ICLEI since 2015. In Manchester in February 2018, the project held an event to share the new tools with representatives of over 15 cities.  

“You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you can use these tools because you can be sure they have been tested and they have the best current knowledge available from different European research institutions and cities, that deal with problems just like your city is probably dealing with,” said Eva Streberová (PhD), Environmental Manager, Office of the Chief City Architect, Bratislava City.

The latest versions of these tools will be launched at the end of this month. Prototypes are already available on the project website, www.resin-cities.eu. The tools will be presented at Open European Day on 25th April 2018, which is organised by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and the European Environment Agency and co-organised by the RESIN project.

For more information about the RESIN project, click here.

2 March 2018

CitiesIPCC marks new era for cooperation between science and cities on climate change: and the RESIN project is part of it

A global climate research agenda will be announced at the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference next week in Edmonton.

In an article published this week in Nature in the lead-up to the conference, leading climate experts identified among the most pressing priorities for cities and climate-change research, “Comparative studies are needed… in different contexts to disentangle these interactions and to find solutions. We need to know how urban morphologies, building materials and human activities affect atmospheric circulation, heat and light radiation, urban energy and water budgets.” The authors called on researchers and city authorities to extend the quantity and types of urban data collected.

Jeremy Carter, University of Manchester, will attend the conference to present the RESIN project’s Climate Risk Typology, which will take steps towards exactly this objective. The RESIN Climate Risk Typology supports adaptation planning by offering users the means to describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. In addition to the IPCC, among the CitiesIPCC partner organizations providing practical support to the Cities and Climate Change Science conference is RESIN project partner ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

At a special session organised by ICLEI during the UN Habitat World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), “CITIESIPCC: Advancing science to accelerate effective climate action in human settlements,” cities and scientists expressed their hopes for the conference to see newly partnerships forged between young researchers in the global South and experienced institutions in European cities and to lay a solid foundation for increased global collaboration on scientific research and knowledge-sharing, particularly to tackle the common challenge of climate change.

“Climate change is a uniquely global challenge; it doesn’t discriminate based on geography, and so we see its effects in every corner of the world,” said IPCC Co-Chair Dr. Debra Roberts. “Our response must also be global, uniting people across cities, countries and continents. That enables us to share best practices based in sound science to meet global commitments that will create a more sustainable and just urban world for future generations.” The conference will bring together 750 scientists, policymakers, researchers, and development experts.

Download the poster presented at http://www.resin-cities.eu/index.php?id=145.

23 February 2018

RESIN project welcomes over 15 cities to Manchester for Stakeholder Dialogue event

The RESIN project welcomed 52 participants, including representatives of over 15 cities from across Europe to Manchester (United Kingdom) on 1st February 2018 for the project’s first Stakeholder Dialogue. RESIN has been working with cities since 2015 to co-create tools for adaptation planning in European cities.

Manchester in the north of England is facing rainier days and unpredictable weather. The event day saw wildly changeable weather, reflecting the agenda for the day: how just one place (and one project) can be a meeting point for common conditions in otherwise diverse locations. Even sunny southern cities could find common ground with Manchester. Ileana Luminița Balalau, Project Manager, Environmental Protection Agency Covasna, said, “We are facing heat waves and also floods.” Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, Greater Manchester, has gone through the same experience during “Boxing Day floods two years ago, where in the space of 24 hours we had several months’ worth, almost, of rainfall.”

City spotlights: flooding

The City of Lahti (Finland) is focusing on adapting to potential flooding from stormwater in densely built and non-permeable areas, especially the city centre. “We are interested in hearing how the RESIN tools can support our strategic adaptation plan and citizen-involved processes,” said Eira Rosberg, Sustainable Development Coordinator for Lahti. Newcastle’s biggest challenge is not from river flooding but from surface water flooding or flash flooding. In a shocking picture painted by Newcastle City Council’s Helen Hinds and John Robinson, “we had a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short space of time: the city ground to a halt” and “at least 500 properties were affected.”

For Reykjavik,”The main adaptation challenge that we are facing is sea level rise.” Major risk factors, including areas prone to flooding, will be introduced into the district plan and a plan will be formed for necessary counter measures. Reykjavik aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, but, “the main challenge is breaking people out of silos to work together to solve adaptation challenges.”

Researchers respond

The RESIN Climate Risk Typology will be an interactive online portal that support adaptation planning by offering users the means to describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. Climate risk encompasses many social and demographic factors that are important and interesting to citizens. As Burgas representatives pointed out, the facility to display different statistics about a region’s specific social and demographic conditions that contribute to climate risk can be a particularly useful tool for dissemination and awareness-raising among citizens. A risk-based Vulnerability Assessment using IVAVIA (Impact and vulnerability analysis for critical infrastructures and built-up areas) helps cities identify geographical risk and vulnerability hotspots, understand the cause-effect relationships of climate change, and assess its demographic, economic and local impacts now and for the future. This helps identify entry-points for adaptation measures and areas where priority action is needed. IVAVIA has been applied to the RESIN core city of Bilbao with regard to flooding.

Maddalen Mendizabal of Tecnalia offered the cities suffering from floods and heat stress some suggestions for finding replicable case studies. The RESIN Adaptation Options Library draws together hundreds of relevant papers and study cases on the performance of climate change adaptation measures in a database covering measures relating to heat, pluvial, fluvial and coastal floods, and drought – among other things. Once complete, each of the tools will be hosted in an online decision support system called the e-Guide. The e-Guide will accompany and support cities throughout their adaptation processes, allows practitioners to save their progress and relevant documentation in one online space, and providing convenient access to content supporting this process, including the remaining three tools developed by RESIN.

Getting to know the tools – and taking them forward

The Manchester event was a “dialogue” with two-way exchange and learning encouraged throughout the day. After two rounds of discussion, the afternoon focused on practical encounters with the tools under development in the RESIN tools marketplace. Cities visited parallel stations where the tool developers addressed their questions, proposed useful applications for their unique contexts and demonstrated their use.

The next release of the RESIN tools will take place in March 2018.

To read the full article and for pictures of the event, see http://www.resin-cities.eu/newsroom/stakeholder-dialogue/.

21 February 2018

European cities face more extreme weather than previously thought

A landmark study shows the impact of flooding, droughts and heatwaves by 2050-2100 will exceed previous predictions. The research is the outcome of the recently-concluded RAMSES project, where ICLEI worked with scientists and cities to deliver evidence of climate change impacts and the costs and benefits of adaptation measures.

Published last week in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters, the study shows:

- a worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities

- increasing drought conditions, particularly in southern Europe

- an increase in river flooding, especially in north-western European cities

- for the worst projections, increases in all hazards for most European cities

“Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point,” Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author, explains.

European cities will meet at the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities on 25th April 2018 to discuss exactly this objective. ICLEI members Helsinki (Finland), Rome (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal), identified in the RAMSES study, are front and centre in this initiative. Susanna Kankaanpää, City of Helsinki will exchange with Thessaloniki (Greece) and Paris (France) on climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation. Pierluigi Potenza, Rome, will discuss Protection of Infrastructure with Bristol, Manchester (United Kingdom) and San Sebastian (Spain). Jose Silva Ferreira (Lisbon) will work with Vaxjö (Sweden) and Enschede (Netherlands) to find solutions for Adaptive Water Management.

For the high impact scenario, 98% of European cities could see worse droughts in the future and cities in Southern Europe may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today. Lisbon (Portugal) is among the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts. Of the European capitals, Helsinki (Finland) is among the cities most likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding. Rome (Italy) is one of the cities likely to see the greatest increase in number of heat-wave days.

“The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions,” says Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.

Registration is open for Open European Day at https://resilientcities2018.iclei.org/.

22 January 2018

EPICURO project newsletter

The EPICURO – European Partnership for Innovative Cities within an Urban Resilient Outlook project has launched its first newsletter. EPICURO brings together a total of 10 EU partner (5 cities and 5 technical organizations) and aims to promote the sharing of good practices in urban resilience and climate change adaptation implemented at international, European and local level.

EPICURO is a twin project of RESIN and Smart Mature Resilience.

In this edition:

- EPICURO at a glance

- Come and meet us!

- Our first 10 months: achieved results

- Twinning projects

Download the newsletter here.