Background and Goals
In 2009, the district of Aachen, the city of Aachen and all 9 towns belonging to the district combined to form the "Aachen urban region", in order to make better use of available resources and agree objectives for the entire area. In terms of spatial development, the medium-term aim is to develop a strategic action plan for "Aachen region climate protection 2020". Development of commercial land represents a key field of action, as industrial and commercial areas account for a large proportion of the settlement area in the Aachen region.
In recent decades, the region has undergone a shift from being a mining and textile region to a high technology location. In this context, the aim is to initiate innovative, climate change adapted commercial land development by providing local authorities and local companies with strategies and guidelines for climate protection and adaptation measures for existing sites and for new planning.
The core aim of the project was to:
- Develop guidelines for climate change adapted commercial land development in new and existing planning (both for mitigation and for adaptation),
- Discuss these with relevant players - companies, associations and local authorities - and to test them using models in analysis areas with different characteristics and general conditions,
- Formulate transferrable recommendations for implementation strategies for climate change adapted commercial land development, and
- Train players in developing and applying the content of the guidelines in a training workshop.
Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change
Step 1: Understand and describe climate change
The German Meteorological Office (DWD, Senior federal authority in the BMVBS) is providing the required climate data for all Urban Climate projects as a basis for climate effect estimates.
- River flooding
- Heat waves
- Altered rainfall patterns
- Higher average temperatures
- Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
Temperature (seasonal), precipitation (seasonal), hot days, frosty days, extreme weather events
Up to 2020
Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact
The forecast changes in annual mean temperatures and water balances do not initially involve a direct need for adaptation on commercial land, but do have more long-term impacts on commercial processes. The project is therefore focused on the increase in extreme weather. In terms of their consequences, events such as heavy rain, hail, storms or heat waves have a significant structural and spatial component and represent a considerable potential risk for many areas of commercial land.
Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances
Based on indicators for local exposure and structural/spatial and process characteristics of businesses, a "vulnerability check" was initially developed in the form of a questionnaire, which enables companies to perform a rough assessment of their own vulnerability to the consequences of extreme weather events. At the same time, a list of measures was compiled to visualise the potential damage for business leaders, highlight different precautionary and adaptation options and identify synergies and conflicts that could arise from implementing these measures.
Step 3: Develop and compare measures
To ensure that the results are transferable, the choice of case studies for trialling the guidelines was based on analysing different types of commercial land with a wide variety of conditions (utilisation, settlement density, accessibility, planning situation, geographical conditions).
In addition to producing the guidelines, a seminar concept was developed, aimed at participants from institutions performing a catalyst and multiplier function (chambers of commerce, business development agencies, local authorities etc.). This will enable these institutions to establish regional consultancy expertise, promoting the dissemination and use of the guidelines in practice.
Step 4: Plan and implement measures
All necessary commercial land planning issues were incorporated into the concept when drawing up the guidelines. Strategies and measures for climate adaptation and climate protection issues complemented one another. The spatial scope covered everything from an overall city perspective to effectives in the immediate surroundings of commercial land to urban and town planning options for the land through to recommendations for specific structural implementation. Possible solutions for future town planning and architectural consideration of the issues addressed in the planning or restructuring process were highlighted.
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Urban Development (BMVBS) and Federal Institute of Construction, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR): KlimaExWoSt - StadtKlima
Sponsorship: Cities Aachen;
research assistance: Department of Urban Engineering and Urban Transport of RWTH Aachen
Industry and Commerce Aachen, the Economic Development Corporation cities Aachen, the Aachen Society for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Aachen Transport Association (GCU) and Stadtwerke Aachen