Project budget7 948 972 €
ERDF amount4 664 564 €
Climate change causes warmer summers with more frequent droughts and heat waves. In many small and medium sized cities of the 2 Seas area, these higher temperatures have a negative impact on public health, productivity, wellbeing, air and water quality and other urban systems. We call these impacts Heat Stress. The need for spatial heat stress adaptation is clear. But to improve their heat resilience, cities still lack essential knowledge and tools for:
- setting heat resilience objectives (existing and desired heat situation) and making investment decisions (where, which measures)
- effective heat adaptation measures with co-benefits for other urban needs (e.g. air quality, flood prevention)
- integrating heat resilience in broader climate adaptation and spatial development strategies
- build capacity and sense of urgency for heat resilient design among urban planners, (landscape) architects, builders and building/home owners.
To increase the capacity of small and medium-sized cities in the 2 Seas area to adapt to the heat-related effects of climate change though interventions in spatial development and urban design in public and private space.
Overall result: improved resilience to heat stress of small/medium sized cities, by:
- 28.000m2 urban area with improved heat resilience, directly benefitting over 35.000 daily users
- Measurable reduction of heat stress level on these sites by at least 1 category on Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) scale.
- 2300 urban development actors with improved heat resilience capacities
- 80 non-partner cities in 2 Seas countries accessing Cool Towns tools and solutions for heat resilience
Additional results are improved capacity for and widespread introduction by 2 Seas local/regional authorities for heat
stress resilience planning and decision making and the identification, selection, financing and implementation of effective
heat resilience measures.
- Heat stress mapping & modelling tool – interactive tool for mapping heat stress and modelling impact of different intervention scenario’s.
- Decision support tool for selecting heat resilience measures – showing key decision-making parameters incl.: heat reduction effect, co-benefits, costs, resources, conditionalities of heat resilience measures
- 7 pilots of different types of heat resilience measures in varying small & medium sized city conditions
- Training and capacity building package on heat resilience
- Roadmap heat resilient city development for local authorities – looking at objective setting, policy integration, measures, financing models, regulation and incentives
Target groups are:
- Local authorities in small and medium sized cities
- Regional authorities
- Inhabitants, businesses, property owners
- Construction sector, urban planners, (landscape) architects
- Users of public space in these cities
Cross border approach
The need to adapt to the heat-related effects of climate change affects all small and medium sized cities in the 2 Seas. Yet, proven models and adaptation solutions to tackle heat stress in the 2 Seas context are not available. To develop a robust response to heat stress, we have built a consortium that bundles all available expertise and competences on heat resilience, currently scattered across the 2 Seas area. Partner cities and regions bring experience in urban design, climate adaptation and stakeholder capacity building. Prominent academic institutes bring complementary expertise in applied heat modelling, adaptive urban and green infrastructure design, perception of heat stress, ecosystem modelling and cooling. Business partners offer innovative solutions for heat stress reduction that can be tested in our project. The broad territorial and disciplinary composition of our consortium ensures that we develop an adaptation response that is relevant for the whole 2 Seas area.
Climate change causes warmer summers with more frequent occurrence of heat waves. In many small and medium-sized cities, this causes heat stress and has an impact on public health, productivity and well-being. Cool Towns is a collaboration between 13 partners – cities, academia and companies - to reduce heat stress in cities. The partners work on solutions at street level to combat heat effectively. The project runs from 9/2018 – 9/2022 with support from the EU program Interreg 2 Seas.
To map the extent of heat stress in our cities and the impact of various intervention scenarios, the partners have developed a model to map stress in our partner cities and combine this with spatial information on vulnerable groups and functions to further improve heat resilience planning in cities.
To gain insight into the current thermal comfort of our cities during summer days, the academic partners developed a measurement protocol. Based on this standard method our partners made heat stress measurements on various locations in Ostend (BE), Breda and Middelburg (NL), Kent and Southend-on-Sea (UK), Saint-Omer (FR) and in the province of East Flanders (BE) and interviewed the public in these sites. These measuremetns are repeated each summer from 2019 - 2022.
With the measurement results we will also build several tools for public authoirities to better prepare their cities for future heat events: a decision support toolkit will allow planners, landscape archites and local authoerities to identify the best heat resilience measures for their territory. And a roadmap for policymakers will show practical steps towards integrating heat resilience in local policymaking from the start.
In 2020 Cool Town launched a training programme which educates professionals and students in urban planning, policy makers an dpropoerty owners on al dimensions of heat stress and the available solutions and approaches.
An important part of Cool Towns is the realization of 7 pilots in the participating cities to demonstrate and investigate a range of measures to reduce heat stress in public spaces. For example, Ostend (BE) is transfroming a parking space into a cool, green oasis in the city center and Breda (NL) is developing a water playground to cool their city center. East Flanders (BE) has created green and shady schoolyards and Middelburg (NL), Southend (UK), Kent (UK) and Saint Omer (FR) are making city centres and residential areas greener and cooler in various ways.