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Linking Research and Innovation on Waterfront through Technology for Excellence of Resilience to face Climate Change

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - sosclimatewaterfront (Linking Research and Innovation on Waterfront through Technology for Excellence of Resilience to face Climate Change)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-12-31

Urban waterfronts are facing new challenges when dealing with climate change. The problem affects the citizens, the environment and the local economy. Municipalities, stakeholders, Port Authorities and local communities often disagree upon their own needs. S.O.S. – Sustainable Open Solutions for European urban waterfronts aims to develop new solutions that emerge from the present necessities. Why is it urgent to share, systematize and upgrade knowledge on the subject?
The effect of climate change is increasing at an unprecedented rhythm which demands adaptation and transformation of vulnerable territories. In the last years a number of projects were interrupted when they faced strong opposition coming either from public opinion, the media and/or lawsuits. Projects seem to adress sensitive cultural values and consequently face years of discussion, only to be put aside eventually. Such difficulties bring a loss of competitiveness on all sides, as well as decreasing quality of life for their citizens. This represents a problem within the European Community. Data related to historic and geographic records of specific waterfronts are used to construct patterns of development, feed algorithms and integrate the support of artificial intelligence to design future possible scenarios. S.O.S. Climate Waterfront project gathers ten partners from Portugal, The Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland and Sweden to share their best practices, including research on waterfront projects that merge equipments as well as public spaces and infrastructures, projects that succeed in conquering public support and integrating the signs of the collective identity. Climate change solutions can only be successful in ensuring a resilient city if they also engage citizens, educating them about climate change challenges and solutions, and fostering possible changes in lifestyles.
The aim is to exchange transnational examples of best practices during the Secondments, Workshops and Trainings organized with multinational groups, and benefit from special conditions not available in a single institution. Local experts, municipal representatives, stakeholders and international scholars work together, participants exchange views, gain new perspectives and discuss new approaches.
The dissemination of results through international networks, and regional networks, the project gathers academic+business+political+environment: HEI, stakeholders (selected by the Chamber of Commerce), Regional and Municipal representatives, cultural and environmental institutions working on specific waterfront locations, expanding and raising the level of the discussion, creating a think tank.
Through an interdisciplinary methodology, the S.O.S. Climate Waterfront will fill the gap in the understanding of how the different scales of urban and landscape planning, architectural design and technology are linked in water-related strategies and how they impact each other in the definition of preventive action plans and in the enhancement of more conscious solutions to inform the community, human welfare and socio-economic activities along those vulnerable territorial settings of the waterfront.
In order to create awareness among the general public our research project will produce high quality graphics (still & moving image) to outreach wider audiences that are attracted by the content and the activities. Press articles, maintenance of a web page with information and frequent updates will provide a prominent position to be communicated addressing an emergent topic with significant cultural impact and involving major costs. In general, researchers will ensure that their research activities will be made known to society at large in such a way that they will contribute for the awareness on the vulnerability on the waterfronts and the opportunities they hold. The political and economic impact is highly respected when coming from an independent group which provides a clear vision to the society. The impact of the proposed measures, being independent from political decisions build a stronger and true reference in processes of transformation that are meaningful for the community.
The scientific collaborations between some teams and/or individual participants of the S.O.S. Climate Waterfront project have started years ago, being mutually useful (see the publications lists). The participation in a joint project is necessary to enhance and stimulate a consistent cooperation between partners; exchange of knowledge for mutual benefit. The cooperation between partners usually extends beyond groups work packages and research facilities. From the previous experiences, partners have continued to work and collaborate extending this interdisciplinary intersectional-international project Bringing together collaborations from Europe to collaborate and exchange knowledge will foster scientific and technical excellence; Enabling ESRs to work among different partners that address the same topic from different fields of knowledge.
Participation of partners coming from the fields of culture, environment, economy to collaborate with other non-academic partner’s strengths the necessary development of integrated strategies that is expected to have a strong impact. One of the expected contributions of the partnership cooperation is a closer integration of academic organizations from Northern and Southern European research area. This is necessary to contribute (with human resources, staff exchange knowledge) to the research and innovation progress in Europe. Due to the clear interdisciplinary nature of S.O.S. Climate Waterfront some of the participants have been requested by different countries in Asia, Americas, Australia and Africa to share their new approaches as they open a realm of new possibilities on the topic. New collaborations and cooperation with further research centers and international consultancy are expected to occur between the European partners at global level.