The Future Cities project aims at making city regions in Northwest Europe fit to cope with the predicted climate change impacts. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). City structures and the urban living environment are especially vulnerable to the consequences of dryer as well as wetter weather conditions such as temperature rise (“heat island effect”) or wetter winters (increased flash-flooding). Viable and cost-effective adaptation measures are only scarcely at hand. Therefore, anticipatory strategies are needed for adapting the urban structures in a way that the impacts of a changing climate will not endanger the urban living environment. The Future Cities-Partnership develops concepts and implementation strategies which: are innovative (not yet implemented on the practical level), save from greater financial loss (by operating proactively), provide for synergy effects and cost-effectiveness (by applying combined measures). The partners cooperate to develop, apply and improve assessment criteria for climate proof cities. Adequate action plans will be developed in each city region and priority measures will be implemented in small-scale investments.

Objectives and beneficiaries

The Future Cities - project aims at making city regions in Northwest Europe fit to cope with the predicted climate change impacts. It responds to major adaptation needs: the temperature in the built environment is expected to rise with heavy impact on the cities' living conditions. In vulnerable locations e.g. hospitals/homes for the elderly, costly and energy-consumptive reactive measures are caused, e.g. more air-conditioning. Here, the key component "green structures" tackles the problem and may balance the predicted rise in temperature of urban surface. The question is: How to use these green cooling effects efficiently? How to secure the functioning during drought periods?

Winters are predicted to become wetter with increased runoff and flash-flooding. Here, solutions could be found in combinations of the urban water systems with green structures.

Summers are expected to be hotter and drier which reduces the amount of water available for plants during droughts resulting in less cooling effects of green structures. Here, the combination with the water system is called for e.g. to develop ways to store additional water which can be used for irrigation.

Strong points of the practice

Focus is laid on existing urban structures not new infrastructures. Broad dissemination of the results is ensured by distinctly targeting disseminators e.g. architects, housing companies, project developers.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

The project partners cooperate on development of joint solutions for the adaptation of urban structures to the impacts of a changing climate. They cooperate to generate comprehensive assessment methods as well as planning tools to support decisions for sustainable urban developments. The partnership cooperates to bring together a large number of specific and sector experiences. The cooperation results in joint methods and strategies for adaptation in different cities in NWE.

Replicability potential of the practice

Regions where similar climate impacts are expected.