Many changes in the climate system are already irreversible for centuries to millennia due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions and will intensify in direct relation to increasing global warming. This includes an increase in the frequency and intensity of heat extremes, heavy rainfall events or droughts.
Dense building development, the expansion of transport infrastructure and the sealing and building of climatically important open and green spaces will make cities in particular even more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. The negative consequences of such environmental risks include dangers to life and limb of the population, risks to the existence and usability of buildings and infrastructure, and generally the loss of economic values.
It is therefore obvious that the resilience of local urban and regional systems to environmental risks must be improved. At IÖR, we use the concept of resilience, which is increasingly being applied worldwide, to help cities and regions deal with the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change hazards. Another challenge is that there are significant differences in the level of knowledge about different types of environmental risks with regard to adaptation strategies and measures.
While there is still a considerable need for research on heat or drought, there is already an extensive international body of knowledge on floods, especially river floods. It is crucial that studies go beyond individual risks and consider mutually reinforcing hazards (such as heat and drought) as well as path dependencies resulting from their interactions. Appropriate solutions for adaptation could include multifunctional land uses or nature-based solutions (NBS), including green-blue infrastructure.