„Keeping a cool head in hot times“: How "governance by integrative visions" (GoIngVis) can support cities in achieving heat risk resilience
Climate change affects cities in various ways and requires the development of new strategies to adapt to extreme weather events. To date, strategies for small towns have not been addressed sufficiently enough in adaptation to research and politics. In contrast, almost all major cities have created adaptation strategies, often in cooperation with regional research institutions. Those capacities are often missing in small towns. The aim of this project is to carry out transdisciplinary and participatory visioning processes with two selected small towns. The visioning processes and their results focus on improving the towns’ resilience towards heat, especially by influencing behaviour and social practice.
Adaptation to heat waves is a significant challenge for small towns. Even though the Urban Heat Island phenomenon is less pronounced in small towns than cities; there are still various risks attached to the heat hazard that might affect the population’s health, infrastructure and productivity of smaller towns in distinct ways.
Approaches to the adaptation to climatic risks often focus on urban planning and changing the built environment. For dealing with heat risks, however, many behavioural measures have been identified that can raise adaptive capacities of the urban population and the urban system. To initiate and coordinate those measures, visions of heat resilient cities will be developed. Moreover, it will be evaluated if these visions and their creation process exert autonomous effects to foster heat resilience.
In a Definition Phase (01/03/2017 — 28/02/2018) the project team and partner towns of Uebigau-Wahrenbrück/Bad Liebenwerda (Brandenburg) and Boizenburg/Elbe (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) planned on:
- conducting a transdisciplinary situation analysis (environment scenario analysis),
- creating concepts to deal with heat for the participatory development of visions with focus on marginalized actor groups,
- submitting a proposal for a cooperation project with an extended research team for the F&E (research and development) phase.
The Definition Phase is finished and the results will be presented in public meetings and other formats as well as published in scientific papers.
Within the R&D phase, the potential for the application of visions and the respective processes will be examined in order to be able to react to special adaption requirements for small peripheral cities with regard to heat resilience. The main objectives are:
- to develop the visions in cooperation with the citizens of the respective cities, to sensitize their concerns and opportunities for actions and to strengthen the participation culture by providing opportunities for shaping their cities,
- to evaluate the visions as an adjustment tool and to examine their effects,
- to develop innovative socio-coordinative measures for heat resilience,
- to ensure the transfer to other cities by networking and providing publications as well as an online-tool.