Assessing resilience to climate change in urban areas. Framework to support resilience action planning

11:15 Thursday 30 May

SS045 • OC266

Room S6


Maria Adriana Cardoso (Portugal) 1; Rita Brito (Portugal) 1; Giovanni Pagani (Spain) 2; Helene Fourniere (Spain) 2; Luis Mesquita David (Portugal) 1; Maria Do Céu Almeida (Portugal) 1

1 - Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil; 2 - UN-HABITAT

Urban areas are dynamic, complex and vulnerable systems, involving multiple strategic services, assets and stakeholders. Potential effects of climate dynamics on cities can aggravate existing conditions, as well as triggering new hazards or risk drivers – such as those generated by climate change (CC) – requiring integrated and forward-looking approaches to sustainable urban development.

Urban resilience refers to the ability of human settlements to withstand and recover quickly from any plausible hazard – both shocks and stresses – while positively transforming towards sustainability. The concept acquired convening power across different constituency groups, not only to reduce disaster risks and damages, but also to bounce back quickly and better, considering positive adaptation to long-term changes in circumstances.

The H2020 RESCCUE project addresses specifically this purpose: taking CC and water focus and designing urban resilience approaches that address impacts on urban infrastructure through interactions and interdependencies among services. The project builds upon the assumption that by assessing current resilience – and analysing how strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats might evolve in future – cities get better knowledge on where they stand, identifying what, where, when and how to enhance their resilience to CC. This provides support to decision-making on: strategies, actions and measures to be adopted; contribution to plans to be implemented in long, medium and short terms, particularly shaping resilience action plans; assessing progress and promoting continuous improvement.

While several resilience assessment frameworks have been developed by a number of stakeholders from different fields (ICLEI (2010), UN-Habitat (2013), Rockefeller & Arup (2014), World Bank (2015), UNISDR (2015), EPA (2017)), the RESCCUE scope (CC) and focus (city, services and infrastructure) shed light on additional gaps and needs, particularly in the assessment of strategic urban sectors and their interactions with both other sectors and the wider urban system. To overcome these needs, a Resilience Assessment Framework (RAF) has been developed, prioritizing the analysis of services and infrastructures, namely water, wastewater, stormwater, solid waste, energy and mobility. Moreover, it captures the organizational, spatial, functional and physical dimensions of urban systems, focusing respectively on governance, urban and environmental characteristics, strategic services and assets/infrastructures.

The framework was applied to the RESCCUE cities – Barcelona, Bristol and Lisbon – supporting its testing, validation, identification of cities’ needs and opportunities to enhance resilience to face CC impacts, prioritization of actions, thus contributing to their resilience action plans. The paper discusses the issues addressed in RAF, its development methodology and structure and the preliminary results.