As a consequence of climate change, extreme weather events are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude. Many German cities are highly prone to these effects. Already today, extreme weather events are responsible for considerable damages to the built environment and a number of health threats. Adaptation strategies and actions to adequately respond to the effects of climate change mainly exist in large cities. Medium-sized cities appear to often lack the required resources to elaborate adaptation plans and to put them into practice. Nonetheless, we still know too little about the drivers and path dependencies which limit the effective development of adaptation responses in medium-sized cities.
The project aims at contributing to increase the resilience of medium-sized cities towards extreme weather events. Three cities (Würzburg, Potsdam, and Remscheid) serve as case studies for this practice-oriented research project, in which adelphi partners with the three municipalities, the University Potsdam, and the Johanniter. Currently, the project is in its definition phase during which the research proposal for the main research and implementation phase is being developed in close cooperation between the research and practice partners of the project consortium.
In addition, climate change adaptation plans and strategies of 220 German medium-size cities are analysed in order to identify so called “pioneer cities” and their motivation to start and adapt to the effects of climate change. This research step is accompanied by an in-depth path analysis of adaptation processes in selected cities. Additionally, requirements for vulnerability and risk analyses are being analysed and innovative responses to the effects of heavy precipitation events and heat waves are being identified and evaluated in terms of their potential feasibility. The results feed into the research proposal and will also be presented in research and position papers, and at conferences.