Framing and monitoring urban climate resilience in German municipalities – insights from an ongoing research project

09:00 Thursday 30 May


Room S16


Christian Kind (Germany) 1; Theresa Kaiser (Germany) 1; Daniel Feldmeyer (Germany) 2; Daniela Wilden (Germany) 3

1 - Adelphi; 2 - University of Stuttgart; 3 - Justus Liebig University Giessen

In view of accelerating climate change and urbanisation, it is of the utmost importance to learn quickly which local adaptation measures contribute to urban climate resilience and to what extent. However, monitoring and evaluating of adaptation activities on the local level has received only limited attention from science and practice so far. This is illustrated by the fact that out of 42 adaptation plans developed by German cities (larger than 50,000 inhabitants), only one covers the topic of monitoring and evaluation in a meaningful way. Reasons for this are connected to the novelty and complexity of the topic and the limited resources at hand. In this presentation, we will share insights from an ongoing research project with German municipalities in which we are co-creating methodologies for assessing outcomes and impacts of local adaptation measures. First key step in our work with municipalities and other research projects was the development of a framework to describe the different facets of urban climate resilience and to identify indicators for assessing urban climate resilience on a city level.

By means of a survey among cities and research institutions with which they are collaborating with, we collected their notions and concepts of urban climate resilience. From the analysis of commonalities and differences between the concepts as well as from the current scientific discourse, we deduced an overarching framework to describe urban resilience and refined it in a workshop together with the respondents. The framework offers a holistic view on resilience and stresses the importance of six capacities of climate resilient cities: to anticipate impacts of extreme weather and climate change, to withstand negative consequences from these events, to quickly restore central functions if they have been affected, to learn from disturbances, to adapt to impacts of climate change in the short and medium term and to transform in the long term.

We then developed an indicator set that attempts to approximate the manifestation of these capacities in different cities. First, we drafted an indicator set by adapting parts of existing indicators sets to the context of urban climate resilience in Germany, focusing on indicators that make use of publicly available data. Then city representatives and researchers commented on the indicators in an online survey whose results we discussed with the respondents in a workshop setting. Discussion and further analysis led to a comprehensive set of around 40 climate resilience indicators.