RESIN maps out the next steps in solutions for strategic adaptation planning in European cities at Brussels meeting
The RESIN project consortium met in Brussels on 23-24 November 2017 to consider the project outputs in an international policy context and to invite guidance from the projects Advisory Board and reviewers.
The RESIN project’s ideal partnership of pioneering research experts and active city representatives uniquely position the project as creators of a complete adaptation action package. The RESIN tools, which are now nearing completion, will be the first of their kind, going beyond local cases and consolidating accumulated experience and knowledge to generate reliable, evidence-supported toolkits that will be both scientifically novel and user-friendly.
“We are approaching a crucial time in terms of solution finding.”
Diogo de Gusmao-Soerensen (DG Research, Head of Climate Services) stressed the importance of impact and policy relevance of research projects. As a European-funded project, RESIN is optimally placed to advise and guide policy developments on a local and international level on the topic of climate change adaptation in cities. Developments at the recent 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn (Germany) showed that the issues addressed in this project are crucial. This topic of research and discussion is incredibly important and pertinent. European Union member states have made vital commitments to climate change at COP23 and must lead and bolster their peers in the international community to commit to climate change action.
“To some communities around the world, climate change of 1.5 degrees is high end climate change.”
An appeal was made to the project consortium to ensure that the high-end scenarios are taken on board when dealing with resilience. It is also important to take into account the economic aspects of adaptation and to focus on finding and offering solution to climate change adaptation challenges.
“We wanted to adjust the timing of the tool development to match cities’ needs.”
The RESIN partner cities have been central players in the RESIN project. While the original concept of the project was that the four core cities of Greater Manchester, Bratislava, Bilbao and Paris would test the tools developed by the research institutions, this relationship has developed to involve the cities in an even more central role. The project has aimed for optimal compatibility between tool development and strategic development in the cities by adjusting the timing of the tool development with the city’s local milestones. Further than the cities’ knowledge being applied to improve the tools’ quality, the RESIN cities have been able to already make progress on adaptation through the tools before the tools have even been developed to completion. Workshops focusing on knowledge transfer workshops showed the success of the co-creation process, as they demonstrated that the tools were also applicable to external (Tier 2) cities.
“Having something red green and amber for risk registries can be useful for cities.”
In terms of linking vulnerability and risk assessment, the Impact and Vulnerability Analysis (IVAVIA) tool has been a useful step as part of the co-creation process. Adaptation has been placed high on the agenda in the RESIN partner cities. The RESIN cities of Manchester and Bilbao have been central in the development of this tool and have both developed impact chains as part of the process.
Greater Manchester carried out a process of consultation to establish which impact chains to develop. Two were selected: road transport and green infrastructure. Supported by their RESIN co-creation partner, the Fraunhofer Institute, they held initial stakeholder workshops to establish the impact chains. This work aims to support decision-makers in Greater Manchester to push forward the adaptation and resilience agenda. Up to now, Greater Manchester has completed a case study, baseline assessment, priority impact chains and a two-stage risk assessment. Flood risk and transport infrastructure are a particular focus.
“We have to connect to our environment. We are four cities, but surrounding us there are further cities with related problems.”
Bilbao is looking ahead to the city’s new Adaptation Plan, which will be submitted next year. As part of their work on the development of IVAVIA, Bilbao developed an impact chain for flooding in built-up areas. This is a very real and immediate risk for the rainy coastal city. An impact chain was also developed about the impact of extreme precipitation on city traffic infrastructure. The process in Bilbao has shown the importance of cross-cutting data administration and the need for co-creation, not only within the RESIN project but to improve projects across the municipality.
Bratislava has been working with Tecnalia to develop a database of adaptation options. In the case of Bratislava, this co-creation process has been very closely linked to strategic processes in the city. Bratislava published a new “Action plan for adaptation to negative effects of climate change” in 2017. The city is planning to use the RESIN adaptation options library to evaluate the action plan for climate change adaptation progress every two years.
Bratislava found the adaptation options library to be useful for a number of purposes:
1) Adaptation planning for relevant departments, together with the outcomes of the vulnerability assessment
2) Preparing new concept and strategies for design of public space
3) For meeting standards and limits set by competition rules
The tools of the RESIN project are useful as a complementary combined suite of tools, which provide cities with comprehensive decision support taking them though the whole climate change adaptation planning process. This suite is hosted in an online guidance platform called the “eGuide”. A prototype eGuide is already available online at e-guide.resin.itti.com.pl. An update is planned for Spring 2018 and the final version will be released in Autumn 2018.
The eGuide has been developed for and by the end users. It provides practical information, guidance, the suite of RESIN tools and a structure to document and save the reports and materials a city develops as part of the climate change adaptation planning process. This answers to the reality in cities where strategies can develop over several years, and in the case of staff circulation, new staff need an integrated platform to find information on processes that may span across several municipal departments and involve public-private actors.
The final RESIN tools will be launched in Spring 2018. RESIN will hold its first public event aimed at city practitioners in Greater Manchester on 1st February: Solutions for strategic adaptation planning in European cities.
The Smart Mature Resilience (SMR) website, developed and managed by the ICLEI European Secretariat in Freiburg (Germany), was awarded the .eu Web Award 2017 in "The Laurels" category at a prestigious ceremony in Brussels (Belgium) on 21 November. The award ceremony was organised by EURid, the registration system for the .eu domain name on behalf of the European Commission.
In “The Laurels” category, the best websites for education, institutions and European projects compete for the award. Thanks to consistently high communication competence and content quality, ICLEI was able to win the award for a second year in a row. In 2016, ICLEI won the award in the “Better World” category for the www.mobilityweek.eu website. The winning website receives a video about the project and the website.
Speaking about the award, Ruud Schuthof, ICLEI Europe Deputy Regional Director for communications, said: "The .eu web award is a great honour for ICLEI and is a recognition of ICLEI's quality and longstanding experience in the field of communication on the topic of sustainability in cities. To have won the award for the second time confirms our work's merit."
Jose Maria Sarriegi, coordinator of the SMR project, added: “It is an honor to be recognised as the best webpage in the Laurels category of the Eurid web awards. We hope this award will increase the number of cities using the tools available in our website, which is our main objective.”
For more information about the SMR project, visit the project website.
Representatives of 19 cities and municipalities met in Thessaloniki on 7th November for the Smart Mature Resilience project's Stakeholder Dialogue event. 9 cities became the newest members of the SMR project, joining the project’s 7 cities, which have been working with researchers for the last 2 years to develop tools to support cities in strategically developing their resilience. The cities to join the Tier 3 group were identified on the basis of experience and knowledge of resilience development. The event marked the launch of the project's third circle of cities aiming to build a backbone of resilient cities in Europe.
Four of the cities have developed this knowledge through membership of ICLEI: the Greater Amman Municipality (Jordan), Malmö (Sweden), Münster (Germany) and Rekjavik (Iceland), or participation in projects like the RESIN project (www.resin-cities.eu) in partnership with ICLEI, in the case of Greater Manchester (United Kingdom), or are part of other projects and international networks: Athens (Greece), Malaga (Spain), Stirling (United Kingdom) and Thessaloniki (Greece).
As a true dialogue, the new cities were active contributors to the event as well as receiving training from the project's Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and research partners. Aphrodite Bouikidis, Resilient Thessaloniki, presented Thessaloniki's Resilience Strategy, presenting the city's general resilience goals: Shape a Thriving and Sustainable City, Co-create an Inclusive City, Build a Dynamic Urban Economy and Responsive City and Re-discover the City's Relationship with the Sea.
Giorgos Dimarelos, Deputy Mayor for Urban Resilience and Development Planning, shared Thessaloniki’s journey towards resilience amid intense challenges, including the financial crisis, the challenge of integrating refugees, and adverse weather effects from climate change. Steps by the city council have produced positive results in creating cooperative relationships with stakeholders, establishing a promising basis for achieving the city's goals, such as tackling unemployment and re-establishing a meaningful connection between the city and its coastline. The Deputy Mayor demonstrated how the city had successfully won support from the regional government to develop the coastline area in collaboration with neighbouring municipalities.
The cities of Kristiansand, Greater Manchester and San Sebastian are, like Thessaloniki, coastal cities, and each city shared their experience with working with critical infrastructure providers, first responders and citizens to deal with crisis situations caused by flooding, and to develop preparedness and resilience to flooding as part of the cities' daily work. Kristiansand and San Sebastian are applying the tools of the SMR project to conduct self-assessment and audit of the city's policies and current levels of investment in resilience, as well as considering the interdependencies of risk using the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire (RSQ). These cities are now serving as guides and peer trainers to their Tier 3 partner cities to pass on the knowledge they have developed through the SMR project.
The city of Amman, Jordan, shares challenges with some European cities. The population in the city has more than doubled in the last decade due to the war in neighbouring Syria, and the municipality has been working overtime to provide support to the new inhabitants and stretch the city’s infrastructure and housing to accommodate the unprecedented population pressures. Its ICLEI member peer, Malmö, has also introduced programmes in response to refugees seeking asylum from war, and the cities could compare challenges, risks and policies that have been implemented in both cities.
The event proceeded with training on the SMR City Dynamics Model. Cities were divided into groups and played the project's serious game to play in a simulation sandbox and experiment with the effects of different budget options. As budget experiments cannot be carried out in real life in cities, simulations provide a way for practitioners and decision-makers to try out different investment options in a safe environment. The game helps users to better understand the Resilience Maturity Model and to see through trial and error playing, the significant benefit of implementing policies in the order laid out in the Resilience Maturity Model.
The cities participated in a training session on the SMR Risk Systemicity Questionnaire (RSQ). The participants were divided into 5 groups, with a mix of city representatives in each group. Each group was facilitated by a Tier 1 or 2 city representative who had been involved in the development of the RSQ, with support from Strathclyde or an experienced user of the RSQ. Each group addressed different topics in the RSQ: Public Unrest; Elderly; Social Cohesion; Critical Infrastructure; Climate Change – air pollution.
There was a high level of debate and involvement about risk scenarios and potential strategies that could be implemented to prepare for interconnected risks. The groups were able to experience focused discussion on risk scenarios in cities facilitated by use of the RSQ. The Tier 3 cities were able to quickly understand how the tool worked and were able to use in in a trial run in practice. Some Tier 3 cities were already confident in their plans to run RSQ-based workshops locally.
Clara Grimes (ICLEI Europe) trained the cities on approaches for communicating best practices for resilience in cities based on narrative methods. Effectively communicating projects and policies in story form is essential so that citizens, stakeholders, other departments of the municipality and the media can better understand and connect with a city’s aims and progress. The cities of Stirling (UK), Malmö (Sweden), Glasgow (UK), Vejle (Denmark) and Rome (Italy) then applied these methods to tell the story of their local best practices to the cities and stakeholders present at the event, including community group activities in Stirling, crisis management in Malmö, resilience education in schools in Glasgow and a programme where a design school ‘designed’ ways for severely disabled people to make meaningful friendships beyond their professional relationships with their carers. Further resilience stories are available for reference in the SMR Policies Tool. Finally, researchers from the Center for Integrated Emergency Management presented on the SMR Resilience Information Portal and how cities can pick and choose code from this portal toolbox to supplement their resilience management information infrastructure.
The Tier 3 programme will continue with online training webinars and an in-person Stakeholder Workshop as part of the Breakfast at Sustainability's event series in Brussels on 7th March.
The city of Paris hosted the RESIN project’s second ‘knowledge transfer workshop’ from 18-19th October 2017. This was the first time the core cities of Paris and Bilbao met their Tier 2 city counterparts in person from: Alba (Italy), Almada (Portugal), Athens (Greece), London (United Kingdom), Padua (Italy), Strasbourg (France), Warsaw (Poland) and Zadar (Croatia). The idea behind the workshops was to spark peer-to-peer exchange between the cities and to introduce the RESIN tools to the tier-2 cities, particularly the IVAVIA tool, the Adaptation Options Library and the E-Guide.
Each tool was allocated its own session where it was presented followed by an active "hands-on" training. Each training session was followed by a “replicability and usability check” session, where the tier-2 cities gave their feedback on the tools, and offered suggestions for how to make the tools more compatible with cities’ needs.
IVAVIA stands for Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas. The overall aim of a risk-based vulnerability assessment using IVAVIA is to help cities understand the cause-effect relationships of climate change and to assess what impact on people, economy and built-up area under study can be expected now and for the future due to the changing climate. The RESIN cities have been closely involved in developing IVAVIA, and as part of this process, they have developed ‘impact chains’ for their cities. At the Paris workshop, the participating cities were shown how to conduct an impact chain and practically apply it in a "‘Train the trainers’ session: how to conduct an impact chain workshop". Each cities picked a hazard that they are dealing with in practice, which was primarily floods and heat waves, and then identified the exposed object, indicators, attributes stressors, and impacts. Then, as part of a "Replicability and Usability Check" feedback round, where the cities shared their experience on developing impact chains.
RESIN is developing a searchable archive, which will host the above tools as well as documentation on adaptation measures previously implemented in different cities: this is called the Adaptation Options Library. The library comprises a database hosting literature related to the performance of adaptation options with almost 300 papers and over 700 case studies. The cities tested a mock-up version of the tool by coming up with examples of threats from their cities and using the library to search for potential adaptation options that they could use to tackle those threats.
The RESIN e-Guide is designed to provide decision support for climate change adaptation planning by city administrators. It lays out the steps and activities involved in an urban adaptation process, provides user-oriented support to carry out this process, directs users towards relevant sources of information and hosts the RESIN decision support tools.
At the second Knowledge Transfer Workshop in Paris, the very first version of the E-Guide was made accessible to the participants. The cities were able to play around with and test the E-Guide. The participating tier-1 and tier-2 cities were also asked in parallel to fill out an evaluation form to inform further fine-tuning of the tool.
In two city sessions, tier-1 city interacted with its tier-2 peers to get to know each other and share challenges and solutions. Representatives of Paris and Athens found a common challenges they share: heat waves, and Paris was interested to learn about the digital application "CoolAthens", which is part of the "Treasure" project and identifies cool spots for vulnerable populations during heat waves.