WorkPackage 4

Climate change Resilient City Planning and Climate-Neutral Infrastructure

Typology: RTD Leader: Jeroen Aerts


This shows the workload for workpackage 4 in the course of the 5 years of the project.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

What’s new in WP4?

How can urban communities tackle the complexities of climate change? WP4 seeks to create visions, feasible strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools that will enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change. The goal is to seek to contribute to improved climate change resilient city planning and climate-neutral infrastructure, throughout the TURAS project network and in a wider European context.
Within WP4 various aspects of city planning and infrastructure are addressed in a number of case-study cities, notably: Rotterdam (flood risk and urban services), Ljubljana (transport and water management), London (green roofs), Seville (integrated solid waste management), and Aalborg (energy). The activities in the various cities and on the various themes will come together in an overall report setting out recommendations for strategic urban planning for European cities.
A peer-reviewed publication has been published in Regional Environmental Change and the report on flood risk from regional waterways in Rotterdam has been finished. A Beta version of GIS micro-communication platform has been developed, and a new demonstration site for ‘ecosystem technologies’ has been selected in Podutik (a Ljubljana suburb). Finally, a draft framework for sustainable city planning (for final deliverable) has been developed by the WP3 partners.


  • Based on the challenges identified and the data collected in WP1, the overall objective of WP4 is to plan an integrated approach to climate change resilient city planning and the development of climate-neutral infrastructure to reduce a city’s overall “ecological footprint” (impact on the environment and ecosystem services). This integrated approach will address challenges related to flood risk management practices, rain water management, treatment and recycling of water, ecological sewage systems, municipal energy systems based on renewable energies and more sustainable transport management practices.
  • For each of these individual challenges, new approaches to climate change planning and the development of climate neutral infrastructure will be proposed and where feasible tested (or modelled).
  • The final objective is to measure impact and results of pilot actions or models in the participating case study areas and to use this data to develop visions, feasible strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools that would enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change contributing to improved climate change resilient city planning and climate- neutral infrastructure throughout the TURaS project network and in a wider European context.

Description of work and role of partners

Description of work: (Overall WP Leader: Jeroen Aerts, Institute for Environmental Studies, VU-IVM)

T4.1 Workpackage kick-off meeting
Lead Partner: VU-IVM. Other Partners: All WP participants

Initial meeting to discuss, plan and develop the various sub-tasks of the workpackage.

T4.2 Urban planning and adaptation to flood risk (VU-IVM)
Lead Partner: VU-IVM. Partners involved: UEL, LjubU; RDA-LUR

The main objective of this WP is to assess current and future trends in flood risk in coastal cities. For this, we first perform an assessment of international flood risk management practices with a focus on Flood prevention. This is a comparative analysis of prevention measures such as levees, flood walls and storm surge barriers and their applicability within urban centres around the globe.Since most of the international research has concentrated on flood prevention, this task will further concentrate on the potential of reducing flood damages through spatial planning measures, flood zoning and building codes. Research in Germany and the USA shows the effectiveness of building codes on the implementation of flood-damage reducing measures on the household scale. If applied to large numbers of properties, their effect can be substantial. The research activities will focus developing a spatial planning strategy for the City of Rotterdam, which combines urban development with flood protection, such as combinations of embankments with urban development, new building codes to flood-proof houses in relation to risk zoning and possibilities to combine urban (re-) development and new properties with dike reinforcement. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of such palatial planning strategy, this task need two modelling tools:

  • a land use model that enables to project future land use developments in our case study area (see WP 4.2)
  • a flood risk model, which shows the potential reduction of flood risk by implementing the spatial planning strategy.

This task will follow a standard catastrophe modelling approach. Quite a number of flood risk and damage models have been developed and employed in, amongst others, Japan, Thailand and Brazil. In Europe, several methods have been developed to assess flood damages at various scales. In the UK the ‘multi-coloured manual’ forms the basis for flood risk assessments. Flood damage models generally have three components, containing information about:

  • hydrological characteristics
  • damage potential
  • stage damage functions.

These functions describe the relation between the hydrological characteristics (e.g. flood depth and velocity) and potential flood damage. For Rotterdam, we propose to modify the existing HIS-SSM model, which is now used on a national scale. After setting up the model, we propose test the spatial planning strategy and elaborate on assessing uncertainty in the results. The City of Ljubljana and Ljubljana urban region have also developed a flood damage model. Exchange of methodologies with other partners will improve the approach to the flood damage model leading to improved use of flood damage function and flood hazard scenarios.

T4.3 Urban planning support through land use modelling (VU-IVM)
Lead partner: VU-IVM Partners involved: UEL

This task will build on existing approaches for land use modelling and ecosystem service assessment in city environments to analyze potential conflicts and strategies for urban planning accounting for climate resilient measures (identified in tasks 4.1, 4.3 and 4.4) and other urban green components. An innovative methodology will be developed to map the spatial distribution of climate resilient services in city environments with a specific focus on services related to climate adaptation and climate neutral infrastructure. Resulting maps will show possible synergies in urban functioning and possible conflicts which diminish the functionality of the incorporated measures. Land use modelling will be incorporated to account for autonomous changes in the urban environment affecting the urban functions. Visualisation tools will be developed to provide input for stakeholder discussion on possible urban planning strategies. Finally, the results of the model simulations will be used to provide guidelines for urban planners to develop a plan for climate resilient city.

T4.4 Urban water management (UEL)
Lead partners: UEL Other partners involved: VU-IVM, BioAzul.

In WP4, the University of East London Sustainable Research Institute proposes to bring together work disseminating from WP1 and WP2 as a quantitative geo-spatial analysis of the potential contribution of retrofit green roofs to storm water attenuation across urban landscapes. High density urban living creates numerous environmental consequences. Of particular global concern is the large expanse of impervious surfaces which lead to rapid rainwater run-off and overloading of storm drains and increases the tendency of rivers to overtop their banks and flood surrounding land. Such impacts are accentuated where cities are developed within existing floodplains and in areas with high annual rainfall. Restoration of green infrastructure is a potential intervention for these problems. Establishing biodiversity-focused green infrastructure provides numerous ecological and economic benefits including water management.

Building on the urban spatial mapping of WP1, the proposed model would use the case study area of Greater London for spatial analysis of the potential area available for retrofitting green roofs (public, residential and office buildings). Once established, variable 8 green roof coverage scenarios for this area would be combined with quantified storm water attenuation values disseminating from WP2 (innovative design of green roof systems to maximise ecosystem services). Using this state-of-the-art urban geo-spatial model, the potential contribution that green roof retrofitting could make to annual urban storm water management could be quantified. Once established, this model would be transferable to other urban areas throughout the TURaS network and beyond. BioAzul will complement this activity by looking into the possibility of the treatment and recycling of ‘grey-water’ using biofilm plants to return cleaned waste water to the water cycle.

T4.5 Improved climate-neutral infrastructure (BioAzul)
Lead partner: BioAzul Other Partners involved: Aalborg University with Aalborg municipality; LjubU, RDA LUR

This task will examine the development of innovative solutions to tackle climate-neutral infrastructure for sustainable waste, water, energy and transport management taking into account where possible the use of organic materials/products and green processes – inspired by nature (i.e.: biomimicry). Some measures to be implemented related to the sustainable management of the city and its resources are listed below and build on state of the art from previous pilot experiences carried out in Freiburg and Stockholm. Research will follow the concept of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) to achieve a more sustainable use of transport and infrastructure in a city, and will focus on two areas:

  • an examination of ISWM practice which is the use of rubberized asphalt for urban transportation infrastructure. This concept recycles abandoned tires and combines this with asphalt. This significantly reduces automobile noise levels, reduces road slickness during rain events, reduces driver glare and most importantly. In addition it reduces porosity releases thermal energy at a quicker rate – thus improving the urban heat island effect.
  • an investigation of the use of sewage water in a digester mixed with organic house to produce biogas for both Cooking and heating and cars and public transport.

The University of Aalborg will lead the aspect of this task related to climate-neutral infrastructure for energy. An important means to achieve municipal energy systems based on increasing shares of renewable energy sources, tentatively up to 100% by the year 2030 or 2050, are advanced district heating systems as a form of green municipal infrastructure. These district heating systems are fed by renewable energy such as geothermal heat, biomass, waste to energy, or heat pumps running on excess electricity in power systems with high shares of fluctuating wind energy. They achieve lower distribution net losses as they run on lower temperatures, and supply a building stock with low energy buildings and existing buildings with substantial achievements within heat savings.

Aalborg municipality and Aalborg University will be requested to contribute to this WP with an energy atlas comprising the current and possible future heat supply and demand of the city and the surrounding towns and villages. The objective is to make the municipality of Aalborg independent of imported fossil fuels, at lower costs than in a business-as-usual scenario. Thereby the municipality may become more resilient to energy crises and contribute to the mitigation of climate change. The energy atlas maps current and possible future heat demand, the possibilities to connect to district heating, the carbon footprint of buildings, and also the costs related to this. Users may contribute their recorded energy consumption and efficiency measures. The energy atlas is designed to be a public planning and decision support system, which may also be accessible to communities and single households. The municipal works of Aalborg contribute with extensive data on heat consumption and distribution networks. A link between urban strategic energy planning and urban planning can be established by using the urban heat and energy atlases, which comprise a highly detailed spatial database on the urban building stock and energy infrastructures, to extract spatial relations and parameters such as building density, use and function of urban neighbourhoods, studies of urban densification vs. sprawl, or other.

The University of Ljubljana will lead the aspects of research related to climate neutral transport infrastructure and in particular build on the latest research in Intelligent Transportation Systems and services (ITS), especially Traffic Management Systems (TMS), Public Transport Management System (PTMS), Traveller Information System (TIS) and Parking Management System (PMS). ITS integrate telecommunications, electronics and information technologies - in short, ‘telematics’ - with transport engineering in order to plan, design, operate, maintain and manage transport systems. This integration aims to improve safety, security, quality and efficiency of the transport systems for passengers and freight, optimising the use of natural resources and respecting the environment. To achieve such aims, ITS require procedures, systems and devices to allow the collection, communication, analysis and distribution of information and data among moving subjects, the transport infrastructure and information technology applications.

The main condition for mutual accessibility of urban areas is the reorganization of transport (especially passenger transport) with user and environmental friendly transport system. Slovenian public opinion strongly favours modern trams or Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the city of Ljubljana, but due to high investment costs it was not applied in Ljubljana in the past. Therefore the research aims to develop a model for alternative intelligent transport systems and services and to pilot test this model in the Ljubljana urban region. The research and models will analyse what would happen if new approaches for sustainable transport management are not introduced and the impact that introducing such measures would have on reducing a city’s ecological footprint. A pilot will be carried out as a case study on one of the main Ljubljana's arterial. It will be analysed what will happen in the city centre of Ljubljana, if the cross section of roadway will be enlarged for one lane or special bus lane with priority bus system will be introduced. Analyses will be carried out by performing special traffic simulations. To make all this more and more complex and sophisticated systems to work harmonically, it is necessary to improve on current system design of ITS on an urban level. It will be called an ITS architecture. The application of the methodology developed for the LUR region to other regions of Europe will be assessed and recommendations made.

T4.6 Measurement of results and impact leading to recommendations for climate change resilient city planning and the development of climate-neutral infrastructure in other participating TURaS partner cities and in a wider European context. (VU-IVM)
Lead Partner: VU-IVM Partners involved: All other WP partners and U STUTT

IVM will lead the WP4.6 which aims at integrating the activities and results in WPs 4.2 to 4.5. The main goal of WP4.6 is to develop guidelines for urban planners that layout building blocks to develop a plan for a climate resilient city and to reduce the city’s overall ecological footprint. The guidelines will describe how the innovations in (1) flood risk management, (2) urban water management and (3) climate neutral infrastructure can be implemented in urban planning

Special attention will be paid to (a) the costs of climate resilient measures, (b) governance aspects such as the involvement of stakeholders and (c) the use of space each of the resilience strategies require. The land use model developed in WP4.3 will be a key tool, which integrates the claims on space from new water and energy management strategies and shows potential areas of conflicts when implementing such a plan. This will be done for one TURaS partner city (either Aalborg or Rotterdam or Ljubljana depending on the case study results). Based on these model outputs, the methodological experiences from other WPs and inputs from stakeholders in partner different cities, the generic guidelines can be developed with their pros and cons.


Id Climate change Resilient City Planning and Climate-Neutral Infrastructure
M4.19 Stakeholder inventory on their perspective on flood risk management, urban waste and storm water management and climate neutral infrastructure
Inventory complete
Expected by: M18
M4.20 Mapping flood risk and outline of flood management strategies
Mapping complete and strategies published
Expected by: M18
M4.21 Inventory of climate neutral infrastructure
Inventory complete
Expected by: M24
M4.22 Working model for the urban land use allocation to provide insight in both the potential and conflicts for climate resilient city planning
Model operational
Expected by: M24
M4.23 Implementation of pilot testing of models and strategies related to flood risk management practices and land use modelling
Expected by: M30
M4.24 Implementation of pilot testing of models and strategies related to rain water management
Expected by: M30
M4.25 implementation of pilot testing of models and strategies related to treatment and recycling of water, ecological sewage systems, municipal energy systems based on renewable energies and more sustainable transport management practices in participating urban locations
Expected by: M36
M4.26 General guidelines on climate resilient city planning and demonstration of guidelines in case studies
Guidelines published
Expected by: M42


Id Climate change Resilient City Planning and Climate-Neutral Infrastructure
D4.5 Development of integrated guidelines and recommendations for climate change resilient city planning and the development of climate-neutral infrastructure in other participating TURaS partner cities and in a wider European context
Expected by: M36