Urban Region

What is it about

Heat waves are hitting our cities more and more frequently and are also lasting longer. Increases in average temperature, number of tropical nights and the strength and duration of heat waves have many direct and indirect risks for human health.

Urban heat waves are directly threatening the health of the urban population. Not only are vulnerable people such as low-income communities, children, older citizens, and other minorities particularly affected by increased health and mortality risks, but the additional growing burden on health infrastructure is also increasingly tying up capacity that is lacking for other emergencies. In addition, heat stress can lead to reduced concentration and increased aggression, resulting in more accidents and violence.

Measures to cool buildings can, under certain circumstances, cause further health risks, especially if they are coupled to an increased energy demand. The massive operation of air-conditioning systems for example puts a strain on the energy supply and can lead to power outages, which can have further health consequences.

In order to prevent dramatic consequences for public health, measures must therefore, for one, pay special attention to the protection of vulnerable groups and social support, and, for another, mitigate urban heat islands through greening and the unsealing of surfaces, without jeopardising the goal of curbing the global rise in temperature through additional emissions.

What I can do as...

Policy Makers & Administrations

Provide framework and guidance

A directed transformation needs an accompanying regulatory framework that promotes mutually supportive developments and limits developments with detrimental direct and indirect side effects. Taking into account the tight and further narrowing emission limits, measures need to be balanced to ensure the best possible adaptation without further increasing the risks from climate impacts.

KNOWING creates region-specific pathways with guidance on the combination and timing of measures that help make a climate-neutral and resilient future achievable. This also includes recommendations on how different sectors can be prepared for the transformation and supported in the development within the pathways.

Urban regions are best placed to become the enablers of the transformation to climate-neutral, liveable environments. However, measures need to be carefully assessed in order to prevent reinforcing social inequalities and to achieve better living conditions for all.

Find out how measures influence each other and how a balanced transformation towards green and liveable urban regions can be achieved. Our recommendations and decision-making tools incorporate the latest scientific findings and the combined knowledge of all relevant stakeholder groups.

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Science & Education

Collaborate and communicate

To improve and protect the health of urban residents from increasing heat hazards, a number of different disciplines have to be consulted, which all have often unique methods and models and their own terminology. The complexity of climate change however requires combining the knowledge and tools from different disciplines to avoid rebound- and spill-over effects in the decarbonisation and adaptation process.

KNOWING develops a transdisciplinary modelling framework combining knowledge and methodologies from technical, natural, and social sciences to achieve technologically and financially feasible and socially just transformation into a carbon-neutral and sustainable future. Supported by and external scientific board, a Climate Interaction Knowledge Base is developed to provide access to scientific evidence and tools to inspire and support transdisciplinary collaboration.

To secure informed decision making, it is important to further improve and provide the best available knowledge and evidence to avoid maladaptation and failed decarbonisation efforts. Therefore, the framework is open for additional knowledge and models.

Learn more about the data and models applied in the framework and the disciplines involved in the development of the framework, the engagement of stakeholders and citizens and the communication of results.

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Economy & Industries

Lead economic transformation

The health and well-being of all segments of the urban population is of immense importance to enable people to continue to participate fully in society and productively shape the national economy in the future. Developments that enable climate-neutral and socially just relief from urban heat stress are therefore essential.

The Transformation Pathways developed by KNOWING provide a clear orientation on planned measures and changing regulatory conditions that help urban enterprises to adapt their businesses and secure the transformation towards a climate-neutral economy.

The urban economy plays a significant role in the transformation to a climate-neutral and healthy urban climate. This concerns not only the active co-design of green and liveable urban spaces, but also the conversion of working conditions for protection against heat stress.

Find out how measures influence each other, how a balanced transformation of urban living and working conditions can be achieved and how you can take a leading role in the development of the new economy.

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Civil Society

Embrace and shape the change

Even though we do not know exactly what our future will look like and if we will manage to endure the increasing heat waves when we grow older, we are not powerless. The world has always changed, and those who have embraced it have always found ways to create and appreciate new opportunities.

KNOWING explains complex interrelationships and the effects of climate impacts, but also climate protection and adaptation measures, on the quality of life of different people. Relatable stories show which measures are necessary to secure the transformation of coastal infrastructure and protection of natural resources without putting anyone at a disadvantage compared to others.

Citizens must be central in shaping a liveable future because it affects their own lives. It is therefore all the more important that everyone understands the interrelationships and preconditions of necessary developments in order to recognise the risks of wrong decisions.

Every day that passes unused means that even higher emissions must be reduced in even less time, or even more adaption measures are needed. It takes all of us to achieve the turnaround together and in time. This is why we actively engage citizens in raising awareness about the complexity of dealing with climate change and benefit from their experiences. Learn more about how you can also help others to join the effort.

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Would you like to learn more about how to recognise fallacies and opportunities regarding climate change, or are you interested in guiding others as a KNOWING Ambassador?

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