The aim of the project is to support urban planners in decision making, by developing strategies and action plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation in small- to medium-sized cities in Austria.
Cities are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures from climate change because of a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Increased temperatures in urban areas are a result of higher amounts of impervious surfaces, lack of vegetation, and concentrated urban structures. The UHI affects human health and wellbeing, and heat waves in urban areas have contributed to loss of life. The heat wave in 2003 for example, resulted in 30,000 deaths across Europe. Future predictions for the continent are considerably more severe, with 152,000 people predicted to perish annually between 2071 and 2100.
Large cities like Vienna have already investigated the UHI effect and have developed possible climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, little work has been done in small to medium sized Austrian cities that are also affected by heat waves in the summer. Moreover, with increasing urbanization, urban planners of these cities need solutions for mitigating the effects of UHI as their cities expand in the future.