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Symbolfoto: Das AIT ist Österreichs größte außeruniversitäre Forschungseinrichtung

Climate-Resilient Urban Pathways

Climate change and its adverse environmental impacts have become one of the defining challenges of the world today. Thus, it is paramount to initiate concrete measures to tackle these issues. The understanding of climate change, the impacts, inherent risks and effects of counteracting measures is important for sustainable urban and infrastructure planning. The objective of this research field is to enhance the resilience of cities and their infrastructures to adapt to climate change and to cope with climate hazards. 

Research Focus

Co-creation processes in the areas of mobility, energy and climate

Climate change must be considered across all policy and administrative fields. To create strategies and make decisions that are scientifically sound as well as suitable for real-world use research must be made in close alignment with practical applications.   

There is an innovation need for building expertise and developing a methodological basis, which facilitates knowledge transfer, science communication and the management of user-centric processes such as living labs, urban planning labs, mobility (transformation) labs or “Reallabore” which are future trends in applied research.

We explore new ways of reaching and involving different target groups (stakeholders, practitioners, citizens, opinion leaders, “hard-to-reach” & vulnerable groups) and methods for managing participatory processes. We provide a methodological foundation for co-creational processes conducted in the fields of mobility, energy and climate.

Development of climate models from city-regional to neighborhood level

For well-founded decisions and the development of solid climate strategies, reliable scientific results from climate models are required. In future, climate information from differently scaled climate models must be considered at all spatial levels - from global to regional to city and district level. The challenge lies in the connection and interaction between the different scale levels as well as in the assessment of the effects of climate change and targeted mitigation measures on the environment and society (e.g. on quality of life, health and costs).

The goal of this research field is to develop a chain of climate models from urban-regional to district level in order to provide a comprehensive and "seamless" picture of the climatic situation and future climate scenarios for cities. Through the direct link with climate and risk models on several levels, the effects and risks of measures and strategies to combat climate change can be assessed. A special focus is placed on the modeling and analysis of the effects of interventions in the blue and green infrastructure via nature-based solutions (NBS). This makes it possible to assess the climate resilience of cities and their infrastructures.

Research on inter-sectoral interactions

To bridge the gap between research and implementation a comprehensive, systemic approach for climate-resilient pathways is needed which links city-relevant sectors like mobility, green infrastructure and health together. This knowledge of inter-sectoral interdependencies allows for support of political decisions and conduction of climate proofing of urban planning and infrastructure instruments.

Interrelations between factors of relevant influence areas of cities (e.g. built environment, land use, energy grids, consumer behavior, regulative framework, green-blue infrastructure) are quantified and impacts of interventions are assessed. Future scenarios are described by related KPIs and define the starting point for backcasting “Transformation Pathways” and for assessing options for actions.