Building Climate Change Adaptation knowledge and capacity by ‘halves’

Researcher-practitioner collaboration for climate change adaptation is both challenging and rewarding as actors from both ‘knowledge communities’ work to find a common language, shared expectations and build trust through interactions. Four presentations in a session on “Global Examples for Researcher-Practitioner Collaboration” reported lessons from the field from both developed and developing country contexts with a surprising overlap of challenges. Language is a key issue for collaboration explained Andrej Steiner from the Carpathian Development Institute of Slovakia saying that we need the ‘half’ people. “We need people who can speak and understand half the language of the scientists and half the Read more

Blue-Green Infrastructure Makes for Solutions that Are Better, Healthier, Happier – and Less Costly, If You Count Correctly

Our green areas are devoured chunk by chunk through urban creep. Population growth and urbanisation are drivers, but old-fashioned thinking is the villain. Green and blue infrastructure represents the preferable alternative: a bright future that, according to panelist Bettina Dreiseitl-Wanschura, Managing Consultant, Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab: “I think will really lead to happiness”.

Resilience planning in a spatial framework

Tools that analyze data across departments and agencies enable decision-makers to generate tractable solutions to ill-defined problems. The development of spatial data infrastructures (SDI) to support resilience planning was the focus of a session at the Resilient Cities Congress organized jointly by ICLEI and Esri. SDI facilitate groups of people to work together by providing a set of generic tools that handle many of the tasks that are required multi-stakeholder planning: exchange of textual, numerical and graphical information, public consultations, consensus building, and voting. The underlying principle of SDI is to incorporate geospatial thinking into problem solving. “It is best Read more

Resilient Buildings for Resilient Cities

The Resilient Buildings and Construction Forum, here at ICLEI’s 5th Annual Resilient Cities Conference in Bonn, is motivated by a simple premise: We can’t have the sustainable future that we all want unless we build that future on the foundation of resilient cities.  And we can’t achieve more resilient cities unless we design, construct and operate resilient buildings. If we are to protect our cities and make them stronger in the face of a changing climate, then there is no more critical sector than our buildings.  These are the places where we live, where we work, where we learn, and, Read more

Inclusive Vulnerability Mapping – Discontents and Happy Amateurs Welcome

“Maps are always manifestations of power”, emphasizes researcher Carsten Butch from the University of Cologne. In doing so, he unknowingly summarized a Friday-morning session on constructing spatial knowledge of water-related vulnerabilities Maps are never objective; they have never been and will likely never become. Subjective choices are always part of their making and the end results always have differentiated consequences for different stakeholders. Contested parameter definition in a GIS environment, as well as selective use of data or data lacking, are examples as to why also modern maps should never be taken at face value, or at least not remain Read more

Snapshots from Dar es Salaam

Flood impact and urban adaptation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania As part of an on-going Action Research project involving the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig Germany, I was commissioned to shoot video interviews with key stakeholders and experts in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, as well as to document the flood problems through still photography. The research project investigates the capacity of local authorities to consider climate adaptation in their local budget and seeks to empower them to integrate adaptation measures in their development activities. The field work in Dar es Salaam was conducted in partnership with Read more


Copenhagen: from a Cloudburst Management Plan to green climate adaptation The city of Copenhagen has just finished its work on the Cloudburst Management Plan. The plan is an innovative way to adapt urban open spaces like streets and places to heavy storm water events and thereby prevent flooding. The “Cloudburst Concretization Masterplan” was developed for eight central catchment areas in Copenhagen, encompassing a total area of 34 km². A “cloudburst” tool box of urban interventions, such as cloudburst boulevards, cloudburst parks, cloudburst plazas, provides the basis for a dynamic and multifunctional system. This new generation of blue-green infrastructures addresses essential Read more