LIFECOOLCITY

ABOUT PROJECT
Life Cool City

PERIOD: 2023 - 2029

Remote Sensing as a solution for effective urban climate change adaptation

The ambition of the "Use of remote sensing for management of blue-green infrastructure in the process of city adaptation to climate change” (LIFECOOLCITY) project is to support the management of blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in 10,000 cities in the European Union. This will be addressed by implementing innovative systems that utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (satellite and aerial imagery). The goal is to enhance the adaptive capacity of cities to the effects of anthropogenic climate change and bring them closer to the model of smart cities of the future.

As a result, city administrators and residents will gain access to four informational products grouped into two computer systems. These will help identify the most significant adaptive needs of their respective urbanized areas, develop a BGI management strategy to minimize climate-related risks, and monitor the effectiveness of its implementation.

The EUROPE system, based on the satellite data, will identify areas in European cities with intensified environmental challenges, and consist of two products:

EU cities Ranking of BGI

a free report published periodically from 2025 until the end of the project, providing an assessment of the state of BGI in at least 10,000 cities across the European Union. It will offer insights into trends in the condition of BGI in cities, allowing for a comparison of the scale of challenges as well as adaptive needs in respective locations.

BGI SAT-MONITORING Report for city

a paid report containing more detailed information on the spatial variability of a specific city's environmental issues. Orders for this report will be possible starting from 2025. It will include maps illustrating the spatial distribution of environmental problems within a given city, and highlight areas with the highest intensity of such alarming issues. Ordered periodically, it will provide knowledge about the temporal changes in the range and severity of environmental problems within the city.

The CITY system will operate based on information obtained from aerial surveys and will serve as a decision-support tool for implementing specific Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) at the city level. Within the CITY system, it will be possible to order two paid products:

BGI AUDIT Report for city

This report will identify key intervention areas for BGI improvement within the city and propose the most beneficial nature-based solutions. The BGI audit will also identify ecologically valuable areas that should be protected due to their positive contribution to climate change adaptation.

BGI AIR-MONITORING Report for city

This report will assess the state of implemented BGI solutions and their effectiveness.

The first city for which a BGI reconstruction concept will be developed based on the project's products will be Wrocław, Poland. By utilizing aerial data and other remote sensing informational products, the city's needs will be identified. Subsequently, actions will be implemented, including BGI reconstruction, changes in the management of the city’s green areas, and the protection of particularly valuable locations in the context of climate change adaptation. The effectiveness of the implemented changes will then be evaluated.

During the project, an informational and educational platform called "Life in a Cool City" will be created, providing direct access to the developed informational products. It will serve as a knowledge base regarding the utilization of remote sensing in urban climate change adaptation.

The project is being jointly implemented by seven organizations:

Miasto Wrocław
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Dofinansowane przez Unię Europejską

Contact

Maria Niedzielko

Maria Niedzielko

administration and formal issues

mniedzielko@mggpaero.com

Dominik Kopeć

Dominik Kopeć

matter-of-fact issues

dkopec@mggpaero.com

Łukasz Sławik

Łukasz Sławik

business

lslawik@mggpaero.com

News

  • 29.05.2024 | LIFE 2024 Information Days
    projekt Life Cool City

    In the middle of May, the LIFE Information Days were organized by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. During the two-day event, representatives of the LIFECOOLCITY project had the opportunity not only to get to know activities of other projects funded by the LIFE program but also to present the results of their work so far. Representatives from the project leader, MGGP Aero, and partner UNEP/GRID-Warsaw discussed the foundations and logic of LIFECOOLCITY, focusing on how the products being developed can support cities in adapting to climate change. They established many relationships with representatives of cities and projects funded by the LIFE program, laying the groundwork for future collaborations.

  • projekt Life Cool City

    In Poland, besides the rise in average air temperatures, anthropogenic climate change also means the ongoing intensification of droughts and heatwaves that have been occurring for several years during the summer, higher frequency of increasingly intense downpours, the intensification of storms and gales, as well as unstable and unpredictable winter weather. All these factors adversely impact cities, compounding their specific structure and climate. High summer temperatures—especially heatwaves [1] with tropical nights [2]—exacerbate the so-called urban heat island effect, a phenomenon of nighttime overheating of cities compared to their surrounding suburban areas. Such conditions are dangerous for the health and lives of small children, the elderly, and those chronically suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Intense floods cause water to quickly and in large volumes run off the sealed surfaces of the city, often exceeding the capacity of the stormwater drainage system. This leads to flooding, city paralysis, and significant losses of property and infrastructure. Climate change thus impacts the quality of life, health, and safety of city residents. It can cause human, material, economic, and technological losses and permanently limit the development potential of cities. Therefore, adapting cities to climate change is a huge challenge, requiring long-term, consistent, and comprehensive planning and action. Urban Adaptation Plans assist cities in this endeavor.

    An Urban Adaptation Plan is a document that, based on the analysis of climate hazards for a specific city, assessment of its vulnerability and adaptive potential, defines a set of long-term actions aimed at mitigating the effects of climate extremes experienced by people and minimizing the negative impact of these extremes on infrastructure and economic development. Adaptation actions are divided into three categories: educational-informational, organizational, and technical. Educational-informational actions help build awareness among residents, officials, and decision-makers about ongoing changes, inform about the current situation, and manage crisis events. Organizational actions allow changing the way the city operates under new conditions, e.g., adjusting the working hours of offices to thermal conditions or establishing spatial planning rules for more effective introduction or protection of green areas and water. Technical actions are purely on an implementation basis, covering a range of areas, such as introducing building materials resistant to climate change, adapting urban public transport fleets to heatwaves, thermomodernization of public buildings, or introducing elements in the urban space that relieve the stormwater drainage system during intense rainfall, e.g., by unsealing surfaces, green roofs, or rain gardens.

    These latter actions are known as "blue-green infrastructure" (BGI) actions. In cities, which are areas heavily modified by humans, they are centered on protecting, properly maintaining, and creating new or restoring degraded green and water areas. The latest IPCC report [3] emphasizes that the ecosystem-based approach, including supporting BGI, is one of the key adaptation tools. However, it is crucial that when applying BGI, nature-based solutions (NbS) are also used, supporting ecosystems as close to natural as possible, biologically diverse, and functioning correctly.

    Adaptation actions planned in the Urban Adaptation Plans should be implemented at all decision-making levels, also involving citizens. Therefore, Urban Adaptation Plans should be prepared in a participatory manner, strengthening the sense of co-responsibility for the urban space.

    In Poland, the main directions of adaptation actions are set by the document SPA 2020 - “Strategic Adaptation Plan for Sectors and Areas Sensitive to Climate Change up to 2020 with a Perspective to 2030”. It identifies urban areas as one of the key adaptation areas. Consequently, in 2017, the Ministry of Environment launched a two-year project “Let's Feel the Climate”, within which Urban Adaptation Plans were developed for 44 cities with more than 100,000 residents [4]. The project's aim was to identify threats, create adaptation plans, and—ultimately—increase cities' resilience to threats resulting from climate change. These plans were prepared based on a unified methodology, consistent with the recommendations contained in the “Climate Change Adaptation Handbook for Cities” (PL: ”Podręcznik adaptacji do zmian klimatu dla miast”) [5].

    projekt Life Cool City

    In recent years, based on the same methodological frameworks, Urban Adaptation Plans are also being prepared for small and medium-sized cities in Poland. Among the first of these smaller cities to implement Urban Adaptation Plans were Bełchatów, Nowy Targ, Ostrołęka, Tomaszów Mazowiecki, and Siedlce. These cities prepared their plans as part of a project coordinated by the Institute for Environmental Protection – National Research Institute – under the CLIM CITIES program "Climate change adaptation in small and medium-sized cities". According to estimates from the Ministry of Climate and Environment (MKiŚ), to date, 79 cities with over 20,000 residents have initiated work on preparing Urban Adaptation Plans on their own, of which 64 cities have already completed their Urban Adaptation Plans project or have adopted it through a resolution. Two years ago, MKiŚ prepared a draft law stating that cities with over 20,000 residents would be required to create Urban Adaptation Plans, implement them, monitor their effectiveness, and regularly update them. However, as of now, this draft law has not yet been enacted.

    The accelerating pace of climate change and its irreversible nature, in the perspective of our lifetimes, underscore the critical importance of promptly and effectively implementing adaptation actions and monitoring the achievement of their set goals. However, cities do not always have access to data, sufficient knowledge, and tools to precisely identify priority intervention areas and monitor the effectiveness of their actions. Support for cities in this process is the goal of the LIFECOOLCITY project. Within this project, four products are being developed to support cities in the implementation of Urban Adaptation Plans. All these products are based on satellite and aerial data, assisting cities in addressing environmental issues such as excessive soil sealing, adverse water conditions, biodiversity decline, plant quality degradation, and increased ground temperatures. The project is being implemented in Wrocław, Poland as a demonstration city and will ultimately include an analysis of environmental problems and the adaptive potential of 10,000 cities in the European Union.

    [1] A period of at least 3 days (24-hour intervals) when the maximum temperature exceeds 30°C.

    [2] A 24-hour period during which the air temperature does not fall below 20°C, even at night.

    [3] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Summary for Policymakers [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, M. Tignor, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem (red)]. In: Climate Change 2022 – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: Working Group II Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (red.)] Cambridge University Press; 2023:3-34.

    [4] Let's Feel the Climate!

    [5] Podręcznik adaptacji do zmian klimatu dla miast (EN: Climate Change Adaptation Handbook for Cities) - Instytut Ochrony Środowiska (ios.edu.pl)

  • projekt Life Cool City

    Recently, the Project Management Team at LIFECOOLCITY had an inspiring meeting combined with a walk along the Wrocław #NBS trail, which stands for nature-based solutions.

    Before discussions on project progress and plans for the near future, representatives of organizations involved in the project, along with its leader MGGP Aero, took time to explore Wrocław and its current projects that support the city's resilience to the effects of climate change, based on solutions that utilize natural processes. Nature provides us with many solutions that can mitigate the climate crisis and positively impact the health and safety of entire communities.

    One example of such implementations in the city is the reconstruction and removal of hardened surfaces at Orląt Lwowskich Square. The action included, among others, the removal of impermeable surfaces and the introduction of organized greenery, designing appropriate drainage slopes for surfaces and managing water in rain gardens and terrain depressions with greenery, improving habitat conditions for trees, and placing educational signs.

    This is just one of the examples of positive changes happening or planned in Wrocław and other Polish cities.

    The ambition of the "Use of remote sensing for management of blue-green infrastructure in the process of city adaptation to climate change” (LIFECOOLCITY) project is to support the management of blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in 10,000 cities in the European Union. This will be addressed by implementing innovative systems that utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (satellite and aerial imagery). The goal is to enhance the adaptive capacity of cities to the effects of anthropogenic climate change and bring them closer to the model of smart cities of the future.

    The project is being jointly implemented by seven organizations:

  • projekt Life Cool City

    Climate crisis and its impact on urban life

    Topic of the climate crisis and its consequences has been present in public debate for a long time. While the climate has naturally changed over centuries (and geological eras), scientific evidence clearly points out that in the last 150 years, since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have significantly contributed to the rapid pace of these changes, deepening their negative effects.

    Where are we heading?

    In 2015, under the Paris Agreement, the governments of nearly 200 countries set a clear goal: "by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C." However, reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that this ambitious goal may not be achieved, and the 1.5°C threshold could be surpassed as early as 2030. This means that we must learn to adapt to a changing climate today.

    Cities, due to their characteristics and the way they change the natural landscape, are highly vulnerable to experiencing the negative impacts of climate change. At the same time, they can significantly contribute to mitigating these changes. According to UN data[1], cities consume nearly 80% of the energy produced and are responsible for over 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, urbanization is still progressing. The UN predicts[2] that within the next 30 years, the percentage of Europeans living in cities will increase from the current 74% to 83%.

    Urban landscape - to live or survive in?

    As cities develop, there is a major transformation of the natural landscape into an anthropogenic landscape, with built structures and infrastructure as key elements. Their emergence increases the share of impermeable surfaces at the expense of green areas, accompanied by a transformation of the natural water cycle. Our cities lose the ability to retain water, resulting in an increased frequency and intensity of so-called flash floods even during light rainfall, while intensifying the occurrence of droughts during rainless periods. The presence of a large amount of concrete surfaces also contributes to local air temperature rise in city centers compared to suburban areas – this phenomenon is known as the urban heat island effect.

    As a result, vegetation quality in cities is declining, functioning less effectively than in suburban areas, with limited flowering and fruiting, often gradually withering. This situation is not improved by the frequent air pollution in cities, as well as poorly planned maintenance practices, such as intensified mowing and trimming.

    Why is the issue of urban greenery so crucial? Because it provides us with numerous ecosystem services, and its presence brings us many benefits – not only those related to aesthetics. Vegetation in the city purifies the air we breathe and helps reduce temperature as well as capture rainfall. Therefore, it supports us in effectively adapting our cities to climate change. This is particularly crucial since life in cities is not easy. Just look at the statistics: according to information published by the C40Cities organization[3], in less than 30 years, over 1.6 billion people living in the world's thousand largest cities will be exposed to regular, extreme heatwaves, equivalent to over 40% of the current urban population.

    Urban environmental challenges

    Cities today face enormous challenges. Climate change and the negative effects of advancing urbanization overlap, influencing everyone's lives. The need for the effective implementation of European adaptation strategies and the growing grassroots pressure resulting from increasing awareness and social expectations require cities to make quick and accurate decisions regarding efficient adaptive actions.

    Among the urban environmental challenges, five main problems can be distinguished, the solution of which is crucial for the effective adaptation of cities to a changing climate:

    1. Low quality of vegetation
    2. Unfavorable water conditions
    3. Increase in ground temperature
    4. Surface sealing
    5. Low biodiversity

    As part of the LIFECOOLCITY project, we will analyze the current state of the mentioned environmental challenges to support the management of blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in 10,000 cities in the European Union. This will be addressed by implementing innovative systems that utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (satellite and aerial imagery). The goal is to enhance the adaptive capacity of cities to the effects of anthropogenic climate change and bring them closer to the model of smart cities of the future.

  • projekt Life Cool City

    On January 31, 2023, a meeting was held to mark the launch of the LIFECOOLCITY project - use of remote sensing for management of blue-green infrastructure in the process of city adaptation to climate change.

    It was the first opportunity for all partners - both from Poland and Germany - to meet face-to-face and talk about the challenges ahead, plan the implementation of individual activities and get to know each other better. In a workshop atmosphere, the participants discussed, among other things, a detailed work plan for the coming months, learned about the guidelines for reporting the effects of their activities, and decided on the visual identity of the project.

    The meeting was attended by representatives of all partners:

  • logo projektu

    With the beginning of the year, the LIFECOOLCITY project (Use of remote sensing for management of blue-green infrastructure in the process of city adaptation to climate change) was launched. The purpose of the project's activities is to enhance the adaptive capacity of cities to the effects of anthropogenic climate change and bring them closer to the model of smart cities of the future.

    The consortium's actions will focus on supporting the management of blue-green infrastructure (BGI) in 10,000 cities in the European Union by implementing innovative systems that utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing (satellite and aerial imagery).

    The first city for which a BGI reconstruction concept will be developed based on the project's products will be Wrocław, Poland.

    The project is being jointly implemented by seven organizations:


    The project activities are planned for the years 2023-2029.

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