Over the past decades, intense urbanization processes generated dramatic changes in urban environments, with a general contraction of green and open spaces. These processes have decreased the potential of cities to mitigate the negative effects of climate changes. Urban heat island and global warming represent hazards for human health and with the increasing urban population, more and more people will be soon exposed to risk of urban heat related illnesses. Urban energy consumption is predicted to raise worldwide, especially in hot climates, with unsustainable snow-ball effect of increasing in outdoor temperatures by final energy dissipation into heat. Increased urbanization and precipitation extremes
define changes in hydrological regimes that are challenging the traditional city drainage infrastructure and causing impacts on urban areas, communities, environments and economies. Water-flow regulation represents a crucial ecosystem service in urban contexts, able to regulate urban water run-off after heavy rain events.
Intense rain and extreme temperatures in general lead to broaden the focus of research on natural hazards, mainly focused on catastrophic events, to include risk conditions oh lower potential impacts but with higher probability. In this context, the hazard profile of each city is no longer clear and is still subject to change in the near future.
In the last decade numerous studies have been developed on the climate zoning of cities starting from the study by Stewart and Oke (2012) on Local Climate Zones (LCZ). However, it is still rare to include among the different types of urban analysis features that can affect urban climatology. Urban morphology features (i.e topography, density, uses and prevailing construction age of buildings, street orientation, the amount of undeveloped and vegetated spaces) and their distribution within fabrics are all factors capable of significantly influencing the urban microclimate.
Different planning solutions and choices are available to adapt and mitigate consequences of climate changes must restore and re-activate the potential of urban ecosystems, that differ according to the different socio-ecological system where they have to be implemented. To this end, different forms of urban greenery and ecosystems play a crucial role in providing services able to respond to such negative consequences, by regulating the local microclimate and urban water run-off.
However, despite the growing efforts made at international level to develop urban policies focusing on climate related issues, their effective mainstreaming into urban policies, spatial planning and actual deployment on the ground is still limited.
This session welcomes inter-disciplinary contributions presenting the state of the art in methods, models, plans and policies’ proposals for climate sensitive urban planning, putting on the foreground actions to increase the quality and safety of cities.
Climate sustainability; climate changes; urban planning; urban design