In a climate-driven emergency, city planning can either exacerbate or alleviate the impact on citizens, infrastructure and the economy.
With large populations and built-up areas, many cities present industrial hazard-scapes that exacerbate the mortality, health and economic risks associated with extreme weather.
The rapid spread of urban fires is part of the collective memories of city communities everywhere, while the effect of heavy rainfall can be much more severe in built-up areas. The lack of open soil, for instance, often results in city sewage systems becoming overwhelmed. This ‘urban flooding’ is still a frequent occurrence throughout Europe, and one that urgently needs to be addressed.
The increase in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall and heat stress, means that city emergency planning needs to be revised not only to respond to recent events, but also in view of the changing climate.
Changing cities for changing times
Good environmental design can lower urban fire vulnerability, support mitigation efforts and facilitate the effective response of emergency services – but it is not enough to act on experience. With the climate rapidly changing, emergency planners, spatial city planners, water managers and climate adaptation planners need to coordinate using strategic planning tools that take into account future urban-specific climates.
Expert knowledge meets real experience
The Climate-fit.City Emergency Planning Service uses the most reliable climate data available to predict changes in the frequency of extreme rain storms and pluvial floods. Using a 2-D hydraulic model, we provide our clients with urban flood hazard maps, showing how each building, street or neighbourhood can be affected by the possible scenarios. The maps include detailed locations and characteristics of the flooded zones, socio-economic consequences, impacts on traffic infrastructure, and associated disaster emergency planning needs.
What makes our service special, is that it combines the outcome of a scientific approach, by renowned research institute KU Leuven, with the practical experience and approach of the client. Global change and specific impacts
“City emergency planning needs revision,” says Antwerp’s Disaster Emergency Manager, Bart Bruelemans, “due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change.”
In close collaboration with the City of Antwerp, Climate-fit.City is putting its service into action. We are using the city’s spatially referenced land use data, to create a tool that will be integrated into Antwerp’s disaster emergency planning system to create more efficient emergency responses to flooding.
Using detailed, reliable and city-specific data, we guide cities in the transition from experience- to evidence-based emergency planning.