Urbisphere - coupling dynamic cities and climate

Institut für Raumordnung und Entwicklungsplanung (IREUS)

In an urbanizing world, there is an increasing need to better understand dynamics and coupling processes between cities and climate, including aspects of urban adaptation. Currently, there is a fundamental disconnect between the approaches employed in climate and urban system science to study dynamic connections and interlinkages between climate and cities.

The urbisphere project (ERC-Synergy-Grant) aims to support a shift in how the scientific community conceptualises, characterizes and forecasts cities in the climate system and in urban planning, by developing a radically new approach to integrating multiple dimensions of urban change, their interaction and feedbacks. It aims to forecast and project urban future and climate in a dynamic framework considering weather, air quality, differential exposure and vulnerability of people at neighbourhood to city scale. It will provide new insights into existing and emerging risks, based on a synergistic effort across disciplines, which currently work mostly in parallel. Urban-Surface Models (USM) and Human Exposure and Vulnerability models (HEV) will be developed and coupled to improve the forecasting of exposure, emissions, and intervention potentials in cities (see figure 1). This will transform atmospheric forecasting, emergency/risk management and long-term urban development/adaptation strategies in the urban sphere. Prof. Joern Birkmann and his team will particularly contribute to the development of an approach that can inform global climate and global vulnerability and risk modelling, including new approaches on how to better account for physical and societal dynamics in cities exposed to climatic hazards.

The cities of Stuttgart and Berlin are among the test cases. Information from the household survey and statistical data (e.g. from the statistical office and environmental protection office of the city of Stuttgart) will be coupled with remote sensing data to identify and cluster differential socio-economic and demographic profiles linked to different settlement types/structures. From empirical analysis, we will develop different archetypes that allow us to characterize the linked settlement structures (and associated activities) and the socio-economic and demographic typologies within the city. The results from this assessment will be used to capture human vulnerability and capacities to deal with heat stress.

Duration: April 2020 - March 2026

Overall budget: € 12 720 904

Project partners:

  • Idryma Technologias Kai Erevnas, Greece (EU contribution: € 2 892 250)
  • University of Stuttgart, Germany (EU contribution: € 2 469 650)
  • Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg, Germany (EU contribution: € 4 339 085)
  • The University of Reading, United Kingdom (EU contribution: € 3 019 919)

Lead Partner:
Idryma Technologias Kai Erevnas, Greece

Funding authority:

European Research Council
ERC-2019-Synergy Grant
Grant agreement ID: 855005

Further information

Jörn Birkmann
Marvin Ravan
Angela Wendnagel-Beck
Nimra Iqbal

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