Lessons Learned – Webinar: Advancing Climate Resilience in European Cities – Innovations and Strategies for Urban Adaptation

Lessons learned from the first MAIA webinar "Advancing Climate Resilience in European Cities: Innovations and Strategies for Urban Adaptation", organized by theAIT Austrian Institute of Technology spotlighting three EU projects: CityClim, Life Baetulo and ICARIA.
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MAIA Webinar Series. Advancing Climate Resilience in European Cities: Innovations and Strategies for Urban Adaptation
MAIA Webinar. Advancing Climate Resilience in European Cities recording

Summary of presentations

The first MAIA Webinar took place on 9 June 2023, addressing the theme “Advancing Climate Resilience in European Cities:Innovations and Strategies for Urban Adaptation” with the participation of three EU-Funded Projects: CityCLIM, LIFE BAETULO, and ICARIA.

Christine Liang presented the EU Project CityCLIM, aimed at addressing the intensifying heat stress due to climate change in urban areas. The project, represented by the CityCLIM team, consists of 12 consortium partners from various sectors. Urban heat islands (UHIs) resulting from urbanization have negative effects, such as increased energy consumption, air pollution, and health problems. CityCLIM seeks to develop an open platform and advanced weather forecasting tool using different data sources to provide Citizen Climate Knowledge Services and City Administration Services. The project emphasizes citizen science methods and aims to operationalize scientific achievements to support innovation transfer.

Montse Martinez presented the EU Project LIFE BAETULO, introducing an Integrated Early Warning System for urban climate change adaptation in Badalona, a coastal city close to Barcelona in Spain. The system consolidates all climate risks affecting urban areas into a single tool, providing advanced weather prediction, real-time information through sensors and cameras, and offline models to estimate impacts. It also identifies vulnerable elements and automates emergency protocols through a citizen app. The project offers transparency, cost-efficiency, and alignment with international conventions, benefiting climate risk managers and raising awareness among citizens. It aims to enhance urban resilience, safeguard health, wellbeing, urban assets, beaches, bathers, and aquatic ecosystems.

Alex de la Cruz presented the EU project ICARIA, led by AQUATEC, which aims to improve climate resilience for critical assets in the face of increasing extreme weather events impacting vulnerable urban citizens. The recently initiated 36-month project focuses on an asset-level modeling framework to understand complex climate-related impacts and develop cost-effective adaptation solutions. Three case studies in Salzburg, South Aegean, and Barcelona regions address multi-hazard resilience, decision support, and optimizing climate change interactions. Effective communication between research and policy/action sides is prioritized, and trial methodologies ensure broader applicability. ICARIA emphasizes engagement with Communities of Practice, including local governments, asset operators, and civil society actors, to gather feedback and create useful tools for end-users.

Synergies and lessons learned

At the end of the presentations, the three speakers were asked about potential synergies and collaboration opportunities among the three projects, focusing on urban adaptation and resilience. The speakers identified various areas of synergy. For instance, the outcome of the LIFE BAETULO project, a tool supporting risk managers, could integrate resources developed by CityCLIM and ICARIA. CityCLIM’s work on heat islands could provide valuable information to risk managers about critical areas in the city. Meanwhile, ICARIA’s models on interdependencies between urban services could aid decision-makers in understanding broader impacts on interconnected systems.

Another common thread across the projects was citizen engagement. The goal of each project is ultimately to enhance citizens’ lives, making them less vulnerable to extreme weather events. Christine Liang highlighted the importance of combining and adapting different models to create operational solutions that are usable by relevant stakeholders.

In terms of MAIA´s role in supporting these projects, Montse Martínez emphasized their interest in disseminating results to local administrators, particularly city councils. Alex de la Cruz stressed that ICARIA’s perspective is regional, and they aim to convince other European regions that their approach is effective. MAIA can play a crucial role in disseminating project outcomes, ensuring sustainability, and promoting commercialization after project completion.

Overall, the projects aimed to make a tangible impact on urban resilience and citizen well-being. Collaboration and knowledge-sharing among these initiatives could lead to more comprehensive and effective climate adaptation strategies in cities across Europe.

Read more & get involved!

Find below the links to the websites of the three projects and stay updated on their results!

  • cityCLIM: https://www.cityclim.eu/
  • LIFE BAETULO: https://life-baetulo.eu/the-project/
  • ICARIA: https://www.icaria-project.eu/about-icaria/
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