EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,

Climate services need to be integrated into existing urban planning tools

Sep 14, 2017 09:38
Climate services need to be integrated into existing urban planning tools

Report from EU-MACS workshop on Urban Planning: “Building a safe, healthy and sustainable Helsinki”, Helsinki, Finland (20/06/2017) 

by Karoliina Pilli-Sihvola,  Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Helsinki, Finland

Seven experts from various urban planning organizations in Helsinki gathered at the Finnish Meteorological Institute on the 20th of June to participate in the first EU-MACS stakeholder workshop. The focus of the workshop was on the role of climate services in urban planning, particularly in Helsinki. The stakeholders represented providers and users of climate services; both the public and private sector were represented. This was the first of a series of workshops that will be organized during EU-MACS, not only in urban planning, but also with stakeholders in the finance and tourism sectors.

The workshop consisted of three connected parts which used different approaches and methods. The first part was based on stakeholder interviews conducted during winter and spring 2017 in Helsinki, and coordinated by IRSA. The interviews resulted in Fuzzy Cognitive Maps, representing stakeholders’ mental models on the primary and secondary impacts of climate change on Helsinki, and the workshop participants provided further input to the analysis. The idea was to verify the understanding of climate change impacts obtained in the interviews. Also, the role of different climate change adaptation measures were discussed, and their importance in impact reduction. The main discussion points were the role of different climate services in supporting adaptation in Helsinki. Several points were raised, but the preliminary conclusions are that climate services need to be integrated into existing urban planning tools, and those different needs for climate services in different stages of the urban planning process exist.

A lively discussion among participants ensued during the Living Lab exercise coordinated by ENoLL. The group was divided into two with the aim to imagine being a citizen of Helsinki, build a persona for the imaginary citizen and think of how they would use climate services in their everyday life. For instance, the citizen’s role as an information provider for climate services was discussed in both groups and was seen as an important part of future prospects.

The third part of the workshop was based on Constructive Technology Assessment approach and coordinated by Twente University. Four climate service market scenarios, based on previous research done in EU-MACS, were presented to the participants, who then suggested modifications to the scenarios, and identified different concrete examples of climate services for each scenario. Different barriers to the use of climate services were discussed by giving points to each service based on their perceived doability and desirability. Urban planning clearly needs integrated and customised climate information, but it could also be the most challenging task for climate service providers and purveyors.

The first workshop gave detailed new insights for EU-MACS and will guide the coming urban planning work. The aim is to understand how climate services are used in different stages of the urban planning process by different actors, who provide and who uses climate services, and what are the barriers and enabling factors in this process that could lead to realistic business models and governance frameworks. To get a hands-on understanding of these questions, two European cities, Helsinki and Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, were chosen as case study cities. The first results from the urban planning sector are reported in a deliverable to be published in early autumn.