EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,

Information gaps between climate services users and producers should be overcome

Dec 14, 2017 10:33
Information gaps between climate services users and producers should be overcome

Figure. Map of interactions between departments and institutions during urban planning for adaptation. Thickness of the links represents the degree of importance according to the stakeholders’ opinion.

by Raffaele Giordano, Water Research Institute – National Research Council (CNR-IRSA), Bari, Italy

Urban planning plays an important role in both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. On the one hand attractive, green, healthy, and yet high density cities help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand the high density of population, capital assets, key public and private services make cities potential “hot spots” for climatic risk. All this underscores the importance of climate change adaptation planning in cities. In summary, we want sustainable resilient climate proof cities.

In order to achieve and maintain good levels of sustainability and resilience urban planning needs good quality applicable knowledge and information on climate change in conjunction with other dimensions. In this context, so-called climate services, i.e. information and knowledge to enhance coping with climate change and climate variability, are a key ingredient for urban planning.

Prior to bothering potential users about selection of climate services it is very important that both the climate services provider and user have a good understanding of inter alia the climate challenges considered and by whom, the information needs, the structure of information use and sharing within the urban planning domain of a city, etc. To this end a social network analysis (SNA) may help to check whether one is talking with the right people about the right things in the right way.

In EU-MACS by means of SNA the main barriers for city planning departments of Helsinki and Bologna were analyzed regarding the way and extent of use of Climate Services (CS) to support urban planning for adaptation. This is reported in Deliverable 4.1 (see below). Next to a more generic review of obstacles in use of climate services in urban planning, the two urban case studies in D4.1 deal with detecting and analyzing potential barriers due to the public policy and administration structure. Specifically, two kinds of barriers were analyzed, being (1) the ambiguity in problem understanding and (2) the vulnerability in the network of interactions taking place during a collective decision-making process.

The ambiguity analysis was used to facilitate the elicitation of the decision-actors information needs, that is, the information that was actually needed to support the decision-making process for urban adaptation. The analysis of the individual problem understanding enabled us to uncover the differences in information needs. Moreover, the explorations carried out in Helsinki demonstrated the usability of the ambiguity analysis as a means to inform and enable the debate among the decision-makers – that is, the users of the climate-related information.

The organizational approach to Social Network Analysis allowed us to unravel the complexity of the network of interactions at the basis of the urban planning process. The adopted methodology was capable to identify key elements and main vulnerabilities that could hamper the sharing of information in the urban adaptation process

The EU-MACS methods and findings are presented in detail in deliverable “D4.1 – Outlining the urban CS playing field – CS and risk management at urban level, the institutional structures, and the options for information sharing”, now available in the EU-MACS web site –> “Outputs” –> “Reports”.