Apart from climate ambitions and other external trends, other activities and goals of the city affect what strategies and policies are feasible. These issues will have to be taken into account in further steps in the decision making process. This step involves identifying the characteristics of the area or asset under investigation to determine initial constraints for eventual adaptation solutions.
To determine what characteristics and issues might be relevant to the climate adaptation strategy, a good idea of the problem, stakeholders involved, non-climate trends, and time horizon to be addressed in the climate adaptation strategy are helpful.
The outcome of this step is a description of the characteristics and issues of the area or asset and related constraints for adaptation solutions.
Non-climate-related developments within the city could also increase the probabilities, intensities and, hence, the risks of climate hazards. These trends are called stressors. This step addresses characteristics and issues of the city that could be translated in constraints which should be take into account in later stages.
Characteristics and issues
To determine relevant constraints, a sound understanding of the current ambitions of the city on topics other than climate adaptation are required. Getting this overview might involving various city departments and possibly consulting external parties.
- Population and demographic change
- Urban development and sprawl
- Historical heritage
- Land use change
From the identified ambitions, one might conclude that adaptation objectives and solutions have to be subject to certain conditions. Defining these constraints early in the process ensures their consideration in further steps. An example of a constraint could be that a city with a historical centre doesn’t want to implement adaptation solutions that change the appearance of the center.
- Organise a workshop with city administrators of different departments and possibly external stakeholders to determine constraints, keeping the characteristics and issues in mind in relation to the climate threat, stakeholders involved, non-climate trends, and chosen time horizon.
Bratislava city has already described the climate hazards, stressors and impacts in the Strategy to adaptation, that was the result of a co-creation process that took place during the EU Cities Adapt Programme in 2014. Nevertheless a more detailed risk based vulnerability assessment was necessary in order to help the city make informed decisions on adaptation to climate change and effective choice in adaptation options in critical sectors and most vulnerable areas. Today, there are many methodologies and methods that can be used for this step in the adaptation process. Before making a choice which one to pick, we recommend consulting your stakeholder group and especially your local research partners or university. Bratislava City as one of the RESIN project cities had the possibility to become part of the co-creation process for developing the IVAVIA tool. Its logical approach to defining the different elements along a chain that goes from climate change hazard, to the impacts while helping to identify the related positive and negative aspects that affect the overall vulnerability of your city to climate change impacts. It has been developed with having in mind the limited resources a resilience officer has to battle with – especially in terms of time or skills and comes with an app to help with the calculations and producing other outcomes such as spatial visualisations (maps, impact chain diagrams, etc.).