Nature’s contribution to urban resilience

Cities are in the front line of climate change. At the end of May, the city of Bonn welcomed the participants of the Resilient Cities Conference 2014, for the 5th Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation organized by ICLEI. This annual get-together of scientists, governments, cities, business and NGOs, is the place for a lively exchange on the latest scientific findings and action areas relevant to addressing climate change at the local level. I attended the conference on behalf of IUCN, and of the URBES – Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services project that IUCN is a partner of. The URBES Read more

Arup’s new report reveals health ‘triple risk hot spots’

25 July 2014 A new report by Arup examines how hot weather affects cities, including the impact on people’s health. It follows a presentation in the session B2 “New methods and action plans for climate-related heat and health risks” at Resilient Cities 2014, where initial results had been presented. The ‘Reducing urban heat risk’ report is the result of a collaborative research project between Arup, the Greater London Authority (GLA), the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP), University College London (UCL) and the London Borough of Islington. The project identifies ‘triple risk hot spots’ which are the areas and buildings where Read more

Reporting back from Resilient Cites Congress

  Photo © ICLEI e.V./2014 At the end of May I spent a couple of days at the ICLEI resilience cities congress finding out about the latest global urban adaptation work and sharing experiences from the work that we are involved with in Scotland. There is no better place to be immersed in all things urban climate resilience related than at the resilient cities congress. It’s a three day round the clock networking and information sharing bonanza. Whilst there I presented on our work in Glasgow and the wider city region and gained many fascinating insights into work going on elsewhere. Read more

OPINION: Climate action – just do it

Mairi Dupar, CDKN’s Global Public Affairs Coordinator, reports from a lively discussion at Resilient Cities 2014 on how to win allies for climate compatible development at the local level. “Just do it.” “The power of demonstration.” “Show everybody and get them talking about it.” “Seeing is believing.” These were some of the top messages from a workshop hosted this week by CDKN and ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability in answer to the question: “How do you get diverse stakeholders involved in local action on climate change? What is your selling point?” CDKN and ICLEI convened partners from cities around the world Read more

Navigating the language of Resilience

LANGUAGE is something that has been a slight preoccupation of mine at this conference and is also a theme that has been raised during a number of the sessions as well. On a personal level, I have tried to dust off my rusty capacity to function in German, linked to my part-German heritage. The various accents and languages mingling in the corridors over the past days are also music to my ears and a reminder of how much I enjoy such international gatherings. On a professional level, we had both Spanish- and French-speaking partners presenting during the congress, and were Read more

Resilient Cities 2014 – Some highlights from Day One

It’s the end of the first day of the ICLEI Resilient Cities conference. As is the norm with good conferences, there were more good sessions offered than I could attend, but here are a few of the highlights and take-aways from today: Every presenter, facilitator, and panelist I saw somehow mentioned the need for partnerships, collaboration, and working across silos. Few have discussed HOW to do this (although I think one of the sessions I didn’t attend touched on it). They Mayor from Bonn even said that 2014 is the year of alliances. This is truly a global conference – Read more

Resilient Cities 2014: five questions I’m taking with me

Tomorrow, I will arrive in Bonn, Germany for the ICLEI 2014 Resilient Cities Conference. In addition to a suitcase that’s heavier than I’d prefer, I’m taking with me some big questions I’m hoping to explore through the rest of the week. I’ve narrowed my long list of questions down to five: As people involved in making and governing cities, how are we defining resilience? What are we including and what are our blind spots? When we talk about adaptive capacity, we usually are referring to the size of pipes or storm-surge walls. What does social adaptive capacity of a city 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

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

Constant learning on local initiatives

ICLEI organizes an annual global forum on urban resilience and adaptation, which takes place in Bonn, Germany every year. This important venue is a great opportunity to learn about valuable initiatives that are developed all around the world. And, fortunately, I was part of it in 2013. My role in the conference was as a social media volunteer. I was responsible for writing blog summaries and tweet about the sessions. This allowed me to attend a variety of talks from diverse panelists that described experiences from their home countries; to share some information with those that could not attend the Read more