Climate change impacts are expected to strongly impact the Madrid region and include extreme heat in summer, water scarcity and occasional heavy rainfall.
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City, Urban planning and Building
In inner city Berlin, plans for the development of new buildings are subjected to the Berlin Landscape Programme, which includes a regulation requiring a proportion of the area to be left as green space: the Biotope Area Factor (BAF) or BFF (Biotop Flächenfaktor). All potential green areas, such as courtyards, roofs and walls are included in the BAF. The regulation is a part of a larger set of documents relating to landscape planning and design as well as species protection. It responds to the need to encourage more green space in densely built-up urban areas.
The neighbourhood of Augustenborg, during the 1980s and 1990s an area of social and economic decline, was frequently flooded by an overflowing drainage system. Between 1998 and 2002 it was regenerated. The physical changes in infrastructure included the creation of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), including 6km of water channels and ten retention ponds.
The old office building at Groot Willemsplein, Rotterdam, dating back to the 1940’s, was renovated to give it a new life with commercial functions on the ground floor and flexible office spaces at the other floors. The most important climate adaptation and mitigation measure implemented is the energy-efficient cooling and heating system. An Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system supplies the building with heat and cold. In summer, heat will be absorbed and stored in a ground water aquifer, this stored heat can be used in winter to heat the building.
The Netherlands is a country with a long history of mitigating flood damage and adapting to flood risk. With 60% of the country below sea level, the development and implementation of flood resilient infrastructure has become an important part of the Dutch culture. The flood threat in the Netherlands is not only related to rising sea-levels. Rivers also pose a risk of flooding. This risk is increased by climate change as it causes more frequent and extreme rainfall.
The Regge River is a typical rain fed river. Starting in the 19th century the first bends were cut and over the years the Regge River was largely turned into a canal. In situations with heavy rainfall, large areas in the valley of the river are flooded. In dry periods, on the contrary, agriculture and the wetlands suffer from the lack of water. Because of climate change, precipitation is projected to become more extreme; showers heavier and dry spells more prolonged. Measures directed at restoring the dynamics of the river must also help to adapt to these projected changes.
As a Mediterranean coastal city, Barcelona is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Its high population density also magnifies the local heat island effect which causes an array of health and environmental challenges. Climate change projections include a rise in average temperature and a significant decrease in rainfall, with expected lasting droughts and intense heat waves. In response, Barcelona has committed to becoming a global model of a sustainable city combating urban development challenges related to climate change and population density.
The 19th century industrialisation in Lodz heavily affected the city’s rivers, altering their ecosystems and hydrology. Many rivers in the densely built-up city were canalized. This resulted in a higher flood risk from runoff during heavy rain periods. Low water retention also implies reduction of soil moisture during dry spells, contributing to higher temperature and reduced air humidity (urban heat island). Based on climate change projections, it is expected that the intensity of heavy rain periods and higher temperatures will increase and exacerbate these problems.
The Zaragoza Water Saving City programme was initiated in 1996 in response to water scarcity and is still on-going. It has included awareness raising campaigns, the implementation of examples of good practice of reduced water consumption and voluntary public commitments by citizens and businesses. The water tariffs were revised to provide disincentives and incentives that ensure a full cost recovery whilst maintaining affordability for low-income households. The programme also involved improvements to the water distribution infrastructure to reduce the waste of water.