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Pan-European Urban Climate Services

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PUCS (Pan-European Urban Climate Services)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-05-31

Urban areas are very vulnerable to climate change impacts, because of the high concentration of people, infrastructure, and economic activity, but also because cities tend to exacerbate climate extremes such as heat waves and flash floods. The objective of the Pan-European Urban Climate Service (PUCS, meanwhile renamed to Climate-fit.City) project is to establish a service that translates the best available scientific urban climate data into relevant information for public and private end-users operating in cities. This will be achieved by demonstrating the benefits of urban climate information to relevant end user communities, considering services in the following domains: Climate and Health, Building Energy, Emergency Planning, Urban Planning, Active Mobility, and Cultural Heritage. This will improve decision-making and will help end users to better address the consequences of climate change at the local scale.

During the first phase of the project, end users and climate service providers were involved in the co-design/-development of six concrete sectoral cases and in the demonstration to relevant end user communities. Each of these cases were/will be subject to a detailed socio-economic impact analysis, quantifying the benefits of using urban climate information. The second phase of the project will focus on upscaling and market replication, involving new (non-financed) end-users. Through a business development strategy, supported by dissemination and marketing activities, we ultimately aim at acquiring six more cases by the end of the project, involving new business intermediaries without project financing, and demonstrating the long-term market viability of the service.

In the longer run, Climate-fit.City aims at a genuine market uptake of urban climate services, based on a distributed network of local business intermediaries throughout Europe, enhancing the awareness for urban climate-related issues in the end-user community, and converting (mature) research results into tailored added-value information, thus removing important barriers for the deployment of urban climate services.

The importance for society can be summarized as follows:

Cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change - A large share of global climate risk is concentrated in urban areas;
Cities need to adapt - Continuing strong mitigation efforts are needed, however, cities across Europe must step-up their adaptation efforts if they are to handle the increasingly complex challenges caused by climate change;
A case for urban climate services - Whereas the need for urban adaptation is clear, the most basic information to support adaptation measures is often lacking.
During the first period of the project, the following sectoral demonstration cases were elaborated by provider-user pairs:

- Climate and Health (ISGLOBAL, ASPB), Barcelona (ES)
- Building Energy (METEOTEST, INES), Bern (CH), Vienna (AT)
- Emergency Planning (KU LEUVEN, ANTWERP), Antwerp (BE)
- Urban Planning (GISAT, IURS), Prague, Ostrava, Hodonín (CZ)
- Active Mobility (JOANNEUM, BIKE CITIZENS), Vienna (AT)
- Cultural Heritage (VITO, SSBAR), Rome (IT)

Each of the above cases is currently being finalized. Preliminary results have already been presented to local stakeholders as to initiate the exploration of replication cases. So far, this resulted in some serious market replication potentials. Also, first steps to deploy a new service, with a new user and addressing a new topic, as a demonstration of the flexibility of Climate-fit.City and its thematic upscaling potential, have been taken (exploring the impact of climate effects on the management of the Antwerp Zoo (BE)).

At this stage, evaluation of the different services is ongoing. Also, a detailed socio-economic impact analysis per case is currently being performed. Furthermore, a business oriented analysis of the service demonstrations has been started up. At different climate service related events, insight in the parties interested in our project services as well as in how the project is perceived by the outside world, was gained. Further analysis as well as the layout of a definite business plan still needs to be performed. Hereto, some in-depth interviews are needed as well as discussions with the different service providers.
Advance beyond the state-of-the-art - Even though the focus of Climate-fit.City is largely on demonstration and market development, the tools we intend to deploy are firmly embedded in scientific research and have a considerable potential to advance the state-of-the-art. In addition, the socio-economic assessment of the different service cases is expected to generate relevant scientific material, including for publication in the peer-reviewed literature.

Innovation potential - Currently, applications requiring urban climate information too often rely on data that are by no means representative of actual urban climate conditions. Urban climate research has largely remained in the academic sphere, with limited real applications, and certainly not considering the provision of services in an organized way. We intend Climate-fit.City to be a game changer in this respect, for the first time bringing results of the best available urban climate research to the end-users.

New business model for climate services - While over the past years there has been a tendency towards the centralized offering of climate information, our approach is rather that of a ‘distributed’ (decentralised) service delivery. Such a scheme, based on a network of end-users, research institutes, and local business intermediaries, is much more flexible, and can deliver the information while accounting better for actual and evolving user needs.

We aim to analyse the service components regarding their (expected) socio-economic impacts, mapping and quantifying the benefits of employing scientific urban climate information for local decision making through dedicated services. During the first phase of the project, the socio-economic impact assessment was initiated, by the development of an assessment methodology and by the development of the current situation, without Climate-fit.City outputs, also called ‘zero scenario’. The actual impact assessment, making use of the developed assessment methodology and using the ‘zero scenario’ as reference point, will occur at the beginning of the second period, once all demonstration services have been released. The outcome of this impact assessment will extensively be described in the final report of the project.

Expected impacts can be summarized as follows:

- Facilitating rapid deployment and market uptake of climate services;
- Providing added-value for the decision-making process addressed by the project;
- Increasing the provision of climate services with added value to the end-users;
- Fostering market uptake of climate services;
- Offering concrete solutions to overcome barriers hampering deployment of climate services in the specific area of application.

Furthermore, we are maintaining a collaborative relationship with other 'climate services' and 'disaster risk reduction' projects, in particular with CLARA, CLARITY, H2020_INSURANCE, PROSNOW and VISCA. A Task Force on the ‘Evaluation of climate services from users’ perspective’ was initiated. Regarding business development, there is a good collaboration with EU-MACS and MARCO. VITO is also part of the EIT Climate-KIC.
Urban Planning case - Interactive urban planning service for scenario modelling (Prague)
Emergency Planning case - Flooding depths for the Antwerp-Berchem rail station on 30-31 May 2016
Schematic view of the project structure
Active Mobility case - Spatial analyses of based on tracking data and UrbClim/ERA5 for Vienna