EU-MACS Coordinator: Prof. Adriaan Perrels,

Urban planning should be better supported by climate services

Urban planning is one of the most well-known user segments in climate services (CS) markets. Urban planners and managers need a plethora of CS, while the demand is created by legal obligations to account for climate change in many planning tasks, at least for a significant part. Mostly, CS are used in urban planning to support urban adaptation to climate change, which, in turn, is often considered as a risk management strategy to reduce the climate-related risks at urban level.Starting from these premises, to be really effective in supporting urban planning, CS have to account for the peculiarities of this segment in CS market.

Firstly, CS cannot provide just information on climate-related hazards only (e.g. trends in precipitation and temperature). Urban decision-makers need to have reliable, accessible and understandable information on the expected risks, which claim for multi-dimensional CS capable to provide information on vulnerability and adaptive capacity as well.

Secondly, to be effective CS should be fully integrated in the process for urban planning adaptation. This requires CS to move from the linear perspective of decision-making processes, toward a circular/adaptive approach. CS are underutilized in urban planning because they do not provide information supporting decision-makers in evaluating the effectiveness of the implemented actions and in improving/adapting those actions.

Finally, CS market fails to identify the main users of climate information at urban level. The urban adaptation to climate change emerge as a collective intelligent process, in which the interactions among the different institutions and between the institutional system and the community play a crucial role. CS should account for the complexity of this interactional network, and should facilitate the information sharing at different level.