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 heat stress model and created heat stress maps for our partner cities. In the next phase of the project, the model will be further developed to include 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 drew up a measurement protocol.Based on this, the cities Ostend (BE), Breda (NL), Middelburg (NL) and the province of East Flanders (BE) took measurements in the hot summer of 2019 and interviewed the users of the pilot sites. The first round of measurements also served to test the heat stress model and provide the decision-making tool with practical information.
In the next phase of Cool Towns, the partners will develop an online decision tool for municipalities and cities, which incorporates various measures for heat resistance with essential decision parameters (such as the extent of heat stress reduction and costs and resources). To generate input for this tool, heat stress workshops were held in Saint-Omer (FR), Breda (NL), Ostend (BE), East Flanders (BE) and Middelburg (NL) during the summer of 2019.
An important part of Cool Towns is the realization of 7 pilots in the participating cities. The aim of these pilot is to demonstrate a variety of measures to reduce heat stress in public spaces The Cool Towns partners are investigating which combinations of measures and locations in their municipality / province can be used as a pilot. For example, in Ostend (BE) the plan is to transform a parking space into a cool, green oasis in the city center and Breda (NL) wants to realize a water playground to cool their city center. In East Flanders (BE) efforts are being made to make schoolyards greener and Middelburg (NL) will make the area surrounding the station greener and cooler.