The main climatic threats to cities are the increase in urban heat islands, heat waves, the risk of flooding and the risk of water scarcity.
The urban adaptation policy requires the renovation of existing infrastructure so that it can withstand these impacts or reduce their negative effects, the construction of new infrastructure adapted to these impacts and the development of an urban spatial planning policy that takes these vulnerabilities into account.
The adaptation of buildings is essential to cope with climate change, providing thermal comfort to their occupants with limited energy consumption. A high energy performance building ensures natural thermal comfort in terms of heat or cooling by taking into account the environment and climate as an essential component of the construction in order to take better advantage of solar radiation, the thermal inertia of materials and the ground and, finally, the natural circulation of air.
The Interreg IVB project “Future Cities – Urban networks to address climate change” aims to adapt urban structures to the inevitable climate change. Combined measures such as energy saving, the creation of green spaces and water supply in cities are responses to limit their vulnerability. The partners in this project are the city of Ypres, in cooperation with the West Flanders Intercommunal Authority (West Vlaamse Intercommunale – WVI). Their tasks are to draw up an ambitious memorandum of intent and master plan, develop green spaces and water networks, communicate and promote the project.
At the level of urban planning structures, a project called CcASPAR has been set up in the Flemish Region to highlight spatial challenges in the face of climate change and to develop policy recommendations for adaptation with regard to planning. The results are published in the book “Klimaat in Vlaanderen als ruimtelijke uitdaging. I don’t believe in global warming.”
Each Belgian entity has already adopted adaptation measures relating to infrastructure and the urban environment. The adaptation measures adopted to address the increased risk of flooding are listed in the “water” sector tab. As for those that have been adopted to address the urban heat island phenomenon and the average increase in temperatures, examples include:
– the development of high-performance energy buildings by imposing the passive standard for new constructions (housing, offices and schools) from 2015 or 2019 (depending on the region concerned), and by setting objectives through a series of measures aimed at stimulating the sustainable construction market, in particular by promoting high-performance energy and environmental buildings;
– the development of strategies for the energy and sustainable renovation of existing buildings;
– the requirement to provide a certificate providing information on the performance and energy consumption of existing buildings at the time of any sale or lease to inform the buyer or potential tenant;
– the imposition of measures to combat the consequences of waterproofing;
– The development of vegetation in urban areas.
- Tools :
Adapt your municipality (FR) (Walloon Region): a tool to support local territories to help them produce their local diagnosis and plan and implement adaptation actions
Urban Adaptation Support Tool: a tool to help local authorities develop, implement and monitor climate change adaptation plans
Urban Adaptation Map Viewer: an overview of the climate risks of European cities, the vulnerability of cities to these risks and their capacity to adapt
Report of the European Environment Agency : Financing urban adaptation to climate change’ (2016)
Publication of the International Water Association: ‘principles for water wise cities’ (2016)
- Projects / programs:
Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy: brings together local authorities committed to implementing the European Union’s climate and energy objectives
RESCCUE (RESilience to cope with Climate Change in Urban arEas): European project to improve urban resilience
RESIN: interdisciplinary research project on climate resilience in European cities (development of practical tools to help cities design and implement local adaptation strategies)