Cities and Climate Change: a web site for planners and policy makers
In Europe, where 80% of the population already lives in cities and where up of the 80% of the energy is consumed, it is clear that the community level is ideally suited to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is also the level where the impact of climate change is most visible.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are now at their highest level for million years, and global temperatures have increased by about 0,6 C in the last 150 years. However, by reducing emissions this only addresses a part of the matter. Even if the global emissions are reduced to zero over the next decade (not a realistic scenario in any case) the impact on towns, cities and urban systems will remain for decades: higher temperatures, increased flooding and/or droughts, more extreme weather events, and a limitation on resources.
It is now widely acknowledged that an intensification of action is required to reduce our impact on the climate and to adapt to inevitable climate change, following the 2007 reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Stern Review, among others.
Planning systems in different part of the world are trying to address climate change effects introduction in planning regulatory schemes different indicators related both with energy consumes and to land exploitation, to figure out from one side possible impacts in terms of mitigation procedures, from the other evaluating the decrease of resilience of built environment.
In many cases local, regional and sometimes national authorities are starting to define Climate Protection Plans (CPP's) to include in a formal and unique planning instrument initiatives and processes of mitigation and adaptation.
More recently the need to adapt to a changing climate has been recognised as an essential element in local responses, to address the impact of climate change and improve community resilience to inevitable changes.
The nature of state and local CCP's varies greatly and only in some cases local governments have incorporated climate change strategies into existing general plans.
The main purpose of this web site is to open a public debate on the roles of local governments in this process of climate change mitigation and adaptation, to communicate the essential role they play to support the realisation of national and international climate targets, and to illustrate the impact they can have – at multiple levels – through exemplary case studies.
The site is the natural outcome of the teaching and research activity conducted at the University IUAV of Venice within the Faculty of Urban and Regional Planning.
We will really appreciate any suggestions to improve the contents and the structure of the site and to enstablish new research relationships outside Venice.