Background information

Despite all international, national and local initiatives to mitigate climate change, a certain degree of climate change is unavoidable. Urban environments in particular seem vulnerable to its consequences: increased risk of flooding during events of extreme precipitation because of the high percentage of paved surface, and an elevated exposure to heat waves through the urban heat island effect. How can cities as dynamic systems, where most people live and work, prepare for such changes? In other words: How to make cities climate proof?

The aim of this research programme was to build up a multi-scale (from the level of buildings via neighbourhoods to city agglomerations), quantitative knowledge base on urban climate, the vulnerability of cities to climate change and expected impacts of possible future changes in climate. The consortium has generated knowledge on the technical and economical effectiveness of adaptation measures linked with an in-depth understanding of the governance processes needed for implementation. To understand the effectiveness of measures, fact finding on the interaction of the city and the local climate (including urban heat islands) is essential. Based on the various impacts in cities and possible adaptation measures, an overview has been provided of costs and benefits of taking adaptation measures in various scenarios for the development of the global climate which will support decision makers in developing their adaptation strategies.

As cities are a focal point for all kinds of societal and urban design issues, successful implementation of climate adaptation policies requires integration with other policy and spatial planning questions in the urban area. Therefore collaboration between many scientific disciplines is needed. This consortium gathers engineers, designers, natural scientists, physical planners and political scientists to interact in work packages. Research has been executed in a number of cross-cutting case studies that link research projects in the work packages with research questions in the hotspots. In this way, the programme aims to provide the Knowledge for Climate stakeholders with factual and targeted information that can be used in developing urban adaptation policies.

Research Framework
The research programme was composed of 5 work packages and 4 case studies. The work packages represent the scientific point of view and answer the main research questions. Descriptions of the work packages can be found here.

The projects in the work packages are linked to each other and build upon each others’ results, even though most projects are executed in parallel. As data and information from each work package became available, it have been used in the other work packages to substantiate working assumptions and replace these for scientifically underpinned variables. In each of the work packages a multi-scale approach is used and attention is been paid to issues at different scales: street and buildings (and people), neighbourhoods, cities and regions.

In practice this has been realized by executing the research in a number of cross-cutting case studies, addressing issues (policy questions) on these specific scales. Descriptions of the case studies can be found here.

Theme 4 Work Packages