10A.2 Urban Climate Transformation Process—First Experiences in Successfully Advising Austrian Cities

Wednesday, 15 January 2020: 2:00 PM
104B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Simon JK Tschannett, Weatherpark GmbH Meteorological Research and Services, Vienna, Austria; and I. Auer, M. Holzer, W. Gepp, M. Ratheiser, and A. Salvini-Plawen

Urban and spatial planning will (have to) change dramatically in the coming years. Especially due to climate change as well as increasing urbanization and densification, measures that ensure the quality of life in urban areas in the long term are becoming increasingly important.

Meteorological and climatological advice in city planning can help cities and municipalities in their process of adapting urban areas to the effects of climate change and in planning and shaping cities in accordance with the characteristics of their urban climate. We – as urban climatologists – work on the interface of climate science and urban planning, translating and linking the urban climate data to relevant information for society. We have gained profound experience in advising and accompanying cities in their transformation processes for improved climate resilience and the development of their climate change adaptation strategies.

In this talk, we would like to present the latest example of our work: In 2018, the city of Linz (207.000 inhabitants), state capital of Upper Austria, decided to take action in addressing climate adaptation. Weatherpark has been guiding this process from the beginning. In a strategic approach, the first step was to gain an overview of the status quo of existing urban climate information available to the city administration. Weatherpark designed the methodology of this survey to the city of Linz and conducted interviews with relevant stakeholders, including representatives of the city administration and the municipality of Upper Austria as well as authors of current research projects and employees of national and regional weather services. The aim of the survey was to gather and evaluate the current status of existing urban climate data (state of the art, availability,...) and to gain an insight into working practices and the use of urban climate data in every day work at different departments within the city administration. We collected, evaluated and compiled the available information and, based on these insights, developed measures to successfully adapt the city of Linz to the effects of climate change.

It is important to find a tailored strategy for each city and to plan strategies and measures depending on the context. For the city of Linz the following 4 most important suggestions (out of 10 in total) were made:

  1. Implementation of an urban climate map, including a planning advice map
  2. Development of a climate change adaptation strategy
  3. Conducting detailed studies for single building and infrastructure projects
  4. Hiring an urban climatologist within the city administration of Linz

First positive results are already showing: the city of Linz is planning to put all 10 suggestions into practice, with the implementation of the urban climate map and the hiring of an urban climatologist on top of the agenda. By the time of the conference, we will be able to present the current status.
This new type of interdisciplinary science-practitioner-policymaker interaction has proven to be a successful way of joining forces, strengthening urban governance and enabling cities to set out on the transformation pathway. It can serve as a best practice example for other cities (especially in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as well as in other countries in Europe), which are expected to take similar action in the close future.

We are going to talk about the methodology and our experiences working within an interdisciplinary environment as well as the stakeholders’ perspectives, presenting their wishes and needs when working with urban climate data. To sum it up, we will present our findings on what kind of resources, know-how, infrastructure and tools have to be available in order to enable efficient capacity building and effective climate adaptation.

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