Arcadis implemented a unique project commissioned by the Ministry of Environment – our experts took part in the development of Urban Plans of Adaptation to Climate Change for the 44 largest Polish cities with a population exceeding 100 thousand inhabitants. The purpose of the project was to create long-term strategies to protect cities and their inhabitants against the negative impact of climate change. The recommendations prepared by Arcadis were customized and took into account the local characteristics of every city or agglomeration. These are practical road maps, rooted in the budgetary, environmental and economic reality, which outline a schedule of anticipatory actions appropriate to the risks identified. This innovative initiative is a response to new challenges which countries and cities are going to face.
The Urban Plans of Adaptation to Climate Change project is unique in scale. It was implemented by a wide Consortium with the participation of research institutes, including the Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute (Project Leader), Institute of Meteorology and Water Management – National Research Institute and the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas. Arcadis was responsible for developing 17 out of 44 plans. The project implementation required the involvement of numerous experts from many industries. The primary objective of the initiative was to create realistic, implementable studies that take into account the individual characteristics of the cities, natural conditions and the local experiences and capabilities of each of the partner cities. The project was implemented in close cooperation with local authorities and consultations were held with local stakeholders. Each of the plans is consistent with the investment strategy of the cities and rooted in the budgetary reality. The action plans underwent a thorough analysis, including S.M.A.R.T. methodology. Apart from the scale of the project, the key challenge was the multidimensional nature of the work, which required the involvement of experts from various fields, such as health, transport, industry or environmental protection. The proper coordination of the specialists' work and the preparation of conclusions, which became the basis for the adopted recommendations, were extremely complicated.
The right response to climate change is currently one of the most important challenges faced by countries, cities, communities and businesses. City inhabitants are more and more frequently confronted with problems of water shortages or air pollution which, as a result, lead to economic disruption and threaten social stability. On the one hand, they have to deal with the effects of heavy rainfall and, on the other hand, with the phenomenon of prolonged drought.
Thanks to the development of adaptation plans, a specific and precise schedule was created, taking into account the actions recommended by experts. Their application will significantly reduce the negative impact of climate factors on the functioning of cities in the most important areas, including public health, transport, energy, water management, tourism, industry, public services, agriculture, biodiversity, cultural heritage, spatial management, residential development, industrial and commercial areas, undeveloped areas and the coastal zone. The actions implemented will increase the safety of city inhabitants and will also improve comfort and quality of life. The scope of the planned actions includes the modernization of flood protection systems, the development of effective water resources management schemes, the creation and development of risk warning systems, changes in urban infrastructure and green areas, taking action to reduce the thermal risk and creating urban space development plans and, as a result, improving residential and investment conditions.
The project also has an important educational component, raising awareness of climate change both among representatives of the local administration and among city inhabitants.