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A systems perspective for resilient cities – DNV GL invites your contribution

The world’s cities are expanding and evolving at an unprecedented rate. As more and more of the global population moves to urban areas, cities are becoming an important focal point in tackling climate change. Business is playing an important role in helping cities in the transition to a low carbon and resilient future. The European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA) will be hosted in Copenhagen 12– 14 May 2015. The conference will cover a broad range of issues related to climate change adaptation and will bring together researchers, policy makers and business. DNV GL is pleased to be convening the session ‘A systems perspective for smarter cities: Resilience requires integrated, co-designed, adaptation and mitigation strategies’.

Towards resilient cities

The term “smart cities” is widely used to convey the role of technology to enhance performance and increase wellbeing. But cities need to be smart in other ways as well. They are complex systems, intersections of physical, environmental, social and governance infrastructures, the sum of which defines a city’s vulnerability – and resilience – to climate change. And they are the intersection of multiple actors and agents, from communities to entrepreneurs, local government, or larger corporate actors. Cities in many places of the world are already leading in policy innovation, implementation of adaptation strategies and promoting the transition to low-carbon societies.

To promote the transition to low-carbon societies, cities need to invest in renewable energy infrastructure, low-carbon transport and energy efficient housing, as well as to address related social innovations and social acceptability. At the same time, cities must assure social protection, risk preparedness and the well-functioning of economic activities. Even if we cut emissions globally, adaptation must remain a central part of the strategy to reduce present and committed climate related risks. Depending on the location, cities have to cope with slow onset or long term stresses like rising sea levels and drought, but also with sudden shocks such as increased flooding, stronger cyclones and extreme heat. Further, cities need to address other stresses related to energy and food security, water quality and access, ecosystems decline and rapid social change as well as other social challenges.

The complexity and interconnectivity that cities represent makes a systems approach essential to build resilience. DNV GL is working on supporting cities to become more resilient. We are in the process of developing an innovative and applied resilience framework that evaluates cities systems (including energy, water, transport) and identifies aspects that will strengthen resilience, thus helping to guide current and future planning, policies and investment strategies. The framework is applied to a system through a practical step by step process focusing on physical infrastructure, environmental hazards, social development and governance structure.

Getting involved

At ECCA 2015 you will learn more about DNV GL’s work on climate change adaptation and resilience. Our ECCA 2015 panel of speakers will discuss methods of integration that can alleviate the strain from adaptation and mitigation challenges by engaging multiple stakeholders and devising collaborative solutions. With representatives from public sector institutions, industry and academia, our panel brings multiple perspectives and wide-ranging experience on resilience and city planning.

After the session, DNV GL will together with the participants in the panel discussion develop a document (position paper) that condense the papers in the session and summarize the discussion and conclusions. The paper will reflect on the current state of play, through the barriers for joint integration of adaptation and mitigation measures and the role of business in the context of urban resilience.

If you will like to be a part of our panel and contribute to the resulting position paper, please submit an abstract for our session, ‘A systems perspective for smarter cities: Resilience requires integrated, co-designed, adaptation and mitigation strategies’. The deadline for submission is 1 February 2015. We look forward to hearing from you!

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