Summer heat stress and an increase in heavy rainfall events are already a reality in the Stuttgart Region and will increase in the future as a result of climate change. A new research project under the direction of Prof. Jörn Birkmann, head of the Faculty's Institute of Spatial and Regional Planning (IREUS), aims to show ways in which the city and region can strategically adapt to such events. The project was launched on August 17th, 2020.
The heat wave in recent weeks, with maximum temperatures throughout Germany of over 38 degrees Celsius also in the Stuttgart region, and the heavy rainfall during the same period show that adaptation to climate change is also becoming increasingly important for the functioning of cities. According to the State Statistical Office of Baden-Württemberg, in the summer of 2019 almost 1,700 people died due to high temperatures. Adaptation to the effects of climate change is therefore a key prerequisite for maintaining the quality of living and the quality of life as well as for the security and competitiveness of the Stuttgart Region as a polycentric, highly densely populated area with strong economic growth. In order to be able to achieve this, stakeholders - particularly in urban and regional development - need information on how climate change is affecting local communities, what longer-term consequences are associated with it and what options exist for adapting.
Adaptation check for city and region
Against this background, the ISAP joint project ("Integrative urban-regional adaptation strategies in a polycentric growth region") will, among other things, develop a quantitative adaptation check over the next three years, which will also take particular account of the synergies between cities and their surrounding areas. To this end, ISAP, together with the Verband Region Stuttgart and the City of Stuttgart, the state capital of Baden-Württemberg, is developing a new, innovative city-regional online information and advice system that includes city-regional information and analysis tools such as climate data, scenarios for climate and land use change and social vulnerability. This information makes it possible to identify and substantiate necessary adaptations. In addition, a heavy rainfall risk map for the city and region is being developed.
Project partners of ISAP are the Institute of Spatial and Regional at the Faculty (IREUS, Prof. Jörn Birkmann, project leader), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Institute of Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) in Berlin, the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) in Cologne as well as the Verband Region Stuttgart and the state capital Stuttgart. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is the project sponsor. The German Federal Ministry of Research (BMBF) is funding the project with around two million euros over the next three years.
"Heat stress, heavy precipitation and drought can already be experienced in the Stuttgart Region today. We must therefore adapt more strongly to these phenomena and plan and develop appropriate prevention strategies for the city and region, emphasises project leader Prof. Jörn Birkmann. "It will not only be possible to counteract heat stress with air conditioning systems for interiors, as they consume more energy again. Information on the dangers of heavy rainfall and the vulnerability of residents* and infrastructure is also needed to prevent heavy rainfall.
"The city of Stuttgart has had an air conditioning department for a long time, as the challenges in Stuttgart are particularly high. Important approaches have already been developed, but the ISAP project also offers new approaches for the quantitative evaluation of adaptation measures and better coordination between municipal and regional approaches. For us, the participation in this project has the advantage that the BMBF provides additional expertise as well as direct personnel resources for practical work," added Rainer Kapp, head of the Department of Urban Climatology at the Environmental Office of the State Capital Stuttgart.
Thomas Kiwitt, Chief Technical Director at the Verband Region Stuttgart, underlines the central advisory function of his association for the municipalities in the region. "The previous Climate Atlas was already very helpful as a basis for planning and decision-making. In the ISAP project, we would now like to update, expand and also consistently digitalise the offer. This should further strengthen the important advisory service for the municipalities.
An intensive exchange at national and international level will ensure that the results are not only useful for the Stuttgart Region, but also for other regions.ehen.
- Prof. Jörn Birkmann, Universität Stuttgart, Institut of Spatial and Regional Planning, Pfaffenwaldring 7, D-70569 Stuttgart, +49 (0)711/685 66333, email@example.com