Global climate change also causes serious problems in cities.
- Increased flood risk caused by intense rainfall and sea level rise.
- 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.
- 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.