Climate Crisis Adaptation – Strategies Towards Resilience – Urban and Architectural Interventions in Milan and Vienna

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Submission Summary
Most large cities worldwide have recently experienced the dramatic effects of the climate crisis. The focus of this paper lies on illustrating different scenarios for cities on a 1.5-degree pathway, which means a 50-55% net emissions reduction by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. The two selected cities, Milan and Vienna, are comparable in size, social makeup and geographic position. Both cities have experienced the impact of climate change regarding the increase of heat in the city, have already invested in environmental issues and want to become carbon neutral. These commonalities form the base for a comparison and for the definition of the next steps. Current strategies, urban and architectural interventions, as well as future initiatives in both cities will be compared with more innovative ones that go beyond the status quo. The COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdowns in Vienna and Milan have acted as game-changers. Closed streets facilitated pedestrian and cyle movement. The question is how many of these interventions will remain and could be upscaled, also considering that public investment in environmental transition became feasible in the framework of recovery and resilience plans. Although the negative health consequences of constant exposure to air pollution were already known, addressing them has now gained additional weight. Governments are well-advised to likewise use the strategies they developed for fighting COVID-19 to undertake serious efforts in fighting climate change. Research and Action Plan This paper focuses on illustrating different scenarios for cities on a 1.5-degree pathway, meaning a 50-55% net emissions reduction by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Major business, economic and societal shifts would underlie a transition to this pathway, but not all of them can be addressed in cities: 1. Industry 2. Transport 3. Power 4. Buildings 5. Avoided Deforestation & Agriculture Current strategies and activities in the cities of Vienna and Milan will provide the groundwork for their applicability elsewhere. Urban and architectural interventions will be evaluated and exchanged to share knowledge. The goal is to develop a flexibly applicable and further developable parts kit. Vienna suffers from a severe lack of green spaces in the densely built-up inner districts. High pollution levels in Milan have negatively affected the population for years. Despite the visible effects of cleaner air and skies, climate change has not slowed down, since CO2 stays long in the atmosphere, which constitutes the main environmental factor. There is growing scientific evidence of a connection between environmental pollution and COVID-19-related mortality rates. Environmental factors like the pre-outbreak level of air pollution—especially nitrogen dioxide (NO2) –play a role. Cities are key contributors to climate change and at the same time their residents experience the consequences most directly through the negative impact on urban life. Cities have to start implementing radical measures in order to achieve visible results: transform the sources of energy provision, apply innovative planning solutions that avoid further sprawl leading to densification, promote a sustainable way of building and renovating the existing building stock following the principles of a circular economy, secure the provision of CO2-neutral public transportation and transform mobility behavioral patterns. These enormous tasks are difficult to carry out alone. Cities with similar challenges and comparable resources like Milan and Vienna can therefore support each other and act together. Environmental agendas have gained significant support in the population and new behavioral patterns were rapidly adopted. Most importantly, though, the ambitious goals and new guidelines of the EU, combined with “green transformation” requirements for the recovery fund, are good reasons to hope that the transformation to carbon neutrality will now succeed.
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4: Resilience and adaptability. Al-Waha: promoting glocal solutions
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Architekten Tillner & Willinger

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