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Climate Proofing Urban Municipalities (LIFE UrbanProof)
Start date: Oct 1, 2016, End date: May 31, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Background Cities and towns, with their high population densities and dependence on collective infrastructure, are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The concentration of people in urban centres restricts vegetation and green spaces, thus increasing risks related to heat and floods. The impacts of climate change on the urban environment and its citizens have consequences for public health, water availability and quality, energy consumption and essential infrastructure. Although climate change projections have been made at national level for many countries there is not enough information available to assess climate change impacts at local level. This precludes municipalities from developing urban adaptation strategies. In addition, municipalities lack the necessary scientific and technical knowledge and expertise to carry out such tasks. The availability of appropriate frameworks and tools would help deliver better informed decision-making. Objectives The overall aim of the UrbanProof project is to increase the resilience of municipalities to climate change by equipping them with a tool that supports their climate change adaptation planning. This tool will: Provide insight into the expected changes in climate; Enhance understanding of climate change impacts and the mechanisms defining vulnerability; Enable the exploration and evaluation of available adaptation options; and Provide guidance for monitoring the adaptation process. Detailed project objectives are as follows: To develop, implement and demonstrate an innovative and interactive decision support tool (UrbanProof toolkit) for urban adaptation planning, which will provide local decision-makers, stakeholders and target groups with access to visual information (maps and graphs) on climate change, vulnerability, adaptation and monitoring and which will guide them, step-by-step, through the whole adaptation process; To bridge the gap between scientific and local understanding of climate change by providing information on future climate changes at local level; To identify the impacts and evaluate the vulnerability to climate change of the partner municipalities (in Cyprus, Greece and Italy); To identify, evaluate and prioritise adaptation options and develop local adaptation strategies for the partner municipalities; To communicate climate change and its associated risks for the partner municipalities as well as the available options for addressing them by implementing, demonstrating and promoting green and soft adaptation measures in order to increase public awareness of climate change adaptation; To gain public acceptance and to ensure active participation and engagement of local stakeholders during the implementation of the adaptation strategy, and to promote continuity and economic sustainability of this strategy; and To promote the adoption of the proposed methodology and adaptation options to other municipalities in order to maximise transferability and replicability. Expected results: The main expected results of this project are as follows: Development of the UrbanProof toolkit, a web-based platform and decision-support tool for urban adaptation planning and community-based participation; Production of a toolkit administrator guide and tutorial video; Evaluation of the technical and economic viability of the toolkit; Identification and assessment of the likely impacts of climate change on the partner municipalities in Cyprus, Greece and Italy and development of local adaptation strategies for these municipalities; Endorsement by the municipalities of these strategies (local council approval); Implementation of green infrastructure projects in partner municipalities in Cyprus and Italy. These include green spaces, green roofs and permeable pavements in Strovolos, Lakatamia and Emilia. The expected impact of these measures is quantified as follows: Green roofs: runoff reduction of 38%; reduction of annual energy demand for heating/cooling by 7.9kW/m2/yr, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 4.3kg CO2 equivalent, reduction of ambient air temperature by 1°C; permeable pavements: runoff reduction of 20-30%, reduction of ambient air temperature by 1.5°C; greening areas: runoff reduction of 23-34%; urban agricultural gardens: runoff reduction of 10-50%; and Dissemination activities throughout the project’s lifespan to raise awareness of the project and its potential for replicability, including events, training seminars, a scientific conference and technical and scientific publications.

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