The DFG Research Unit address the complex scientific questions related to heat stress in mid-latitude cities by a multi- and interdisciplinary approach involving climatologists, urban geographers and hydrologists, physicians, architects, physicists and engineers, urban planners and social scientists.
The causal chains spanning from climate modifications by urban regions to out- and indoor heat stress hazards will be analysed in detail, and scenario-based projections of future heat-stress hazards considering urban climate change as well as urban development paths will be computed for the example of Berlin. Heat-stress risks will be studied by available observational data, in particular for specifically vulnerable groups of senior people or patients in hospitals.
In contrast to other mid-latitude cities in sub-tropical climates, air conditioning of buildings is not yet common in Berlin, such that heat-stress risks are still closely coupled to urban weather and climate. Demographic and economic developments, combined with changing urban climates, may, however, result in more installations of air-conditioning systems if no other options for reducing heat-stress hazards would become available at feasible costs. Actions for reducing heat-stress risks in mid-latitude cities will be studied with respect to their effectiveness in reducing the risks, either by reducing the hazard or the vulnerability. We will also analyse side effects determining the efficiency of the respective actions. In particular, actions for modifying building designs and technologies including building green, and for modifying urban patterns including open spaces and urban green will be studied. We will thus be able to identify those actions creating synergies between adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, or generate co-benefits in other societal fields. Implementation of actions requires in-depth knowledge of constellations, particularly of actors, influencing urban development. Without considering these constellations implementation of actions may not be possible even when the actions themselves would be effective and efficient.
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