Bratislava is adapting to
Copyright: Tamara Rehackova, Office of the Chief Architect, Bratislava City
The Slovakian capital of Bratislava is fast becoming a climate change adaptation champion for its local region. Through the RESIN project, Bratislava has begun to take an active role in developing and testing tools for adaptation planning. Specific conditions in Bratislava, such as climate change impacts, drivers, stressors and adaptation options, call for tailored outputs and tools, and the city is an active contributor to producing these resources. Crucial to the development process is the close relationship between cities: pilot cities in RESIN work closely together to share their experience and to share this with a wider circle of Tier 2 cities.
Knowledge Transfer Workshop, June 2017
Such a city exchange took place as a knowledge transfer workshop held last month in Bratislava. The cities of Greater Manchester and Bratislava in collaboration with TNO, Tecnalia, Frauenhofer and ICLEI welcomed representatives of 10 RESIN Tier 2 cities to Bratislava from 13-14 June 2017. City governments and representatives from Ghent, Lahti, Covasna, Burgas, Reykjavik, Sfantu Gheorghe, Vilnius, Radom, Nijmegen and Newcastle met their Tier 1 partners in Bratislava for a 2-day knowledge transfer workshop at Faculty of Natural Sciences, Mlynská dolina, Bratislava.
During the workshop, the cities provided feedback on the RESIN vulnerability and risk assessment tool, IVAVIA. Bratislava has already developed two impact chains for “Health and wellbeing of the urban population” and “Green infrastructure” and has previously carried out vulnerability assessment. The city stakeholders were able to draw from this experience to provide tool developers with feedback on the prototype IVAVIA. Bratislava has been closely involved in the vulnerability analysis process and assessment of climate change risks. Through regular Skype meetings with RESIN research partner, Fraunhofer, the city is focusing on the process of involving stakeholders and collecting data.
Climate risk and vulnerability in Bratislava
Mapping and understanding vulnerability and risk is becoming increasingly important to Bratislava. The city has been facing a rapid increase in tropical nights with maximum temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. These hot nights have boomed in number from less than 5 in 1990 to 48 hot nights in 2013, and the trend is increasing every year. Thermovisual scanning clearly shows the benefit of green spaces and urban water features for cooling down urban areas and controlling these extreme nighttime temperatures. Local measures for adapting to this new climate reality such as green and blue infrastructure will be essential if Bratislava’s citizens are to get a good night’s sleep
Bratislava's climate context
Bratislava is also addressing flood risk. Summer flooding in 2014 halted traffic, closed businesses and saw cars submerged in the flood waters. In addition to these global trends in climate change, Bratislava faces unique local challenges as a result of its regional characteristics and historical legacy. The growing city is seeing an expanding urban area of housing and infrastructure following former intensive agricultural development. Several chemical factories and oil refineries are still part of the built-up urban landscape, where some are still in use and some are now brownfields and landfills.
Political commitment to adaptation
Significant climate change milestones in recent years include joining the EU Cities Adapt project to support capacity-building in climate change adaptation, signing the Covenant of Mayors in 2012, and implementing the Action Plan for Sustainable Energetic Development of Bratislava in 2013. In 2014, the city increased this momentum by signing the Mayors Adapt initiative, endorsing the Strategy for adaptation to negative impacts of climate change in Bratislava and launching the project “Bratislava is preparing to the climate change – the pilot application of the measures in the field of the sustainable rainwater management in urban area.”
Bratislava became a pilot project of RESIN: Climate Resilient Cities and Infrastructures in 2015. Since then, it has also joined the core group of cities supporting the new Urban Water Agenda and hosted Bremen (Germany) and Arnhem (Netherlands) as part of the Mayors Adapt City Twinning Programme. In April 2017, the City parliament endorsed the “Action Plan for adaptation to climate change in Bratislava.”
What's next for Bratislava
The next ambition for Bratislava is to support the usage of RESIN outputs and tools through translation into Slovak, to raise awareness of the benefits of climate change adaptation through boosting communication and stakeholder involvement, and finally, Bratislava aims to gain political commitment in order to be able to implement the results of the vulnerability assessment in the city’s master plan and urban development scenarios.