Project description

OBJECTIVES

The LIFE URBAN ADAPT project aims to contribute to reducing the effects of climate change in the city. Close cooperation between the municipality, its residents, businesses and other civil society organisations is necessary in order to realise climate change measures fully and rapidly. The project, therefore, shows two innovative participatory approaches, in two very different urban environments. The demonstration project Tidal park is about making the Nieuwe Maas (Mallegat and Nassau haven) more environmental friendly and thus more climate resilient. It focuses on a cooperation with institutional parties. On the other hand, the Zomerhofkwartier is a neighbourhood project in the city centre that focuses on a close cooperation between residents, businesses and civil society organisations. LIFE URBAN ADAPT is making its approach accessible to other cities, sharing knowledge which can be applied to their specific context.

BACKGROUND

Our climate is changing. As a global port city in the Dutch delta, Rotterdam will notice the effects. Sea levels are rising; over time, this will impact upon the safety of our dikes. Discharges from rivers will become more extreme, which will lead to an increased risk and, as a result, flood damage and economic loss. We will also see more frequent downpours of greater intensity. The current drainage system will no longer be able to cope with this, leading to water on the streets and other problems. At the same time, the risk of long periods of drought is rising, which can affect the quality of life in the city. The Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy is setting a course that will enable Rotterdam to adapt well to climate change and show that inhabitants, businesses and the city can all achieve maximum benefit when working together. You can find more information on the Rotterdam Adaptation Strategy here.

Global climate change also causes serious problems in cities.

  1. Increased flood risk caused by intense rainfall and sea level rise.
  2. Elevated temperatures caused by the ´urban heat island’ effect (UHI). This is a phenomenon where the temperature in an urban area is on average higher than the temperature in the surrounding rural areas. The main causes of UHI are the absorption of sunlight by the dark materials present in cities and the relatively low wind speeds. Because of UHI, problems during heat waves such as illness caused by heat stress, have become worse. Structural measures and more green areas in the city reduce the effect of UHI.
  3. Depletion of flora and fauna both on land and in water.

In order to protect European economy and society from the negative effects of climate change, the European Union seeks sustainable solutions. For this reason the importance of urban adaptation strategies is high on the European policy agenda.

Rotterdam is known as a front runner in the field of climate change adaptation. Furthermore, Rotterdam was the first major European city with a definite adaptation strategy. The implementation of these measures is ongoing, but to get a bigger score climate adaptation must be integrated on a larger scale. This not only requires the commitment of the municipality, but also from its residents, businesses and other social organisations. This complex process requires close cooperation from all relevant stakeholders, where common interests are valued and sought, to implement effective climate adaptation measures together. URBAN LIFE ADAPT aims to show the potential of this participatory approach to implementing urban climate adaptation strategies.