Resilient cities in the face of climate change
Climate change has big and long-term impacts on cities. EU-funded research aims to increase resilience, improving cities' capacity to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from related events such as droughts and heavy rain - protecting key infrastructure and lives.
© Zaichenko Olga #70764870, source: stock.adobe.com 2019
Extreme events resulting from climate change present serious problems for urban services including water and energy supply, transport, telecommunications and waste disposal. This can lead to high human and economic costs.
The EU-funded RESCCUE project aims to create an assessment, planning and management framework, adaptation strategies and action plans to make cities more resilient in the face of climate change. This should enable public authorities and utility managers to ensure close coordination between emergency teams and keep residents safe during extreme weather.
The project takes water as its starting point due to the danger of water-related risks to cities. However, cities cannot be understood by focusing on a single sector. RESCCUE thus takes account of different urban services and hazards to develop plans which connect across several areas.
RESCCUE will provide innovative models and tools to improve cities ability to withstand and recover from multiple shocks and maintain essential services. This will bring economic benefits in terms of avoidance of impacts and better crisis management, says project coordinator Pere Malgrat, of Aquatec SUEZ Advanced Solutions in Spain. All methodologies and tools will be distinguished by their capability to be deployed in different types of city with different climate change pressures.
Three research sites
Research takes place in three cities Barcelona, Bristol and Lisbon each of which faces a variety of challenges. These include coastal, river or pluvial flooding, sewer overflow during storms, and drought. For each city, RESCCUE develops extreme event scenarios and models to help public services prepare.
Adaptation strategies to be tested at each site help avoid risk transfer from one sector to another and increase urban resilience as a whole. An adaptation strategies database will be compiled, with strategies ranked by cost-effectiveness.
Resilience action plans for guaranteeing continuity of services during emergencies will be drawn up based on local partners input and project results. Their effectiveness will be tested by simulations.
A global tool
The tools will be integrated into a software platform able to propose risk- and crisis-management measures and help authorities make informed choices. Guidelines will be provided to standardise implementation in different cities.
The platform also includes climate projections which can be adapted to different places to help plan for future scenarios, and an adaptation strategies module. It will be further improved by incorporating real-time data, resulting in a resource offering consultancy services to cities worldwide.
For Malgrat, the structure of the consortium will help get the results to market. We have partners representing different disciplines, from universities and research institutes to SMEs, utilities, city councils and UN-Habitat, the UN programme for cities that will help deploy the RESCCUE results in many other urban areas. Each of them enriches the project so that it provides practical solutions to real needs, he concludes.