RIsk Management for Heat Stress and Pluvial Flooding in the Centrumgebied of Utrecht Science Park
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The Gebiedsontwikkeling (GBO) team at Utrecht University are re-developing the centrumgebied of Utrecht Science Park with the ambition to provide a safe environment for users in the face of climate change. Climate change will most likely lead to an intensification of natural hazard severity and frequency, thereby enhancing the likelihood of disaster – the loss of life, injury, or destroyed and damaged assets. Therefore, understanding and mapping the risks presented by a changing climate is prudent. Risk mapping is the evaluation of (natural) hazards and the exposure and vulnerability of a location and population to that hazard. Risk mapping was undertaken evaluating two hazards; heat stress and pluvial flooding across two severity scenarios. Exposure and vulnerability of the centrumgebied and its elements (i.e. population, buildings, land-use) was calculated using a multi-criteria analysis of key impact elements and their characteristics. Population vulnerability was evaluated for three scenarios, demonstrating to decision makers that this component dynamic, not static. Merging the heat stress and flooding risk maps commonalities where maximal risk occur were identified, namely along transport infrastructure, vegetation and large areas of impermeable street surfaces. These locations of elevated risk provide GBO decision makers with a list of priority areas to focus redevelopment strategies and to plan suitable adaption and resilience measures into their designs. To evaluate which adaption measures are most effective and suitable for the Centrumgebied, the Climate Resilience City toolbox / Klimaatbestendige Stad Toolbox (KBS) was used. This toolbox is an open source online software used to evaluate climate adaptation measures - both technical and nature based - to heat stress, drought and flooding. Using this tool, it was possible to map various scenarios onto the centrumgebied, both independently and with GBO stakeholders. Measures were evaluated using a cost benefit analysis of relevant metrics relating to heat stress and flooding, revealing that adding trees to the city scape was the most effective measure against both hazards. Thereafter, the best nature based solutions were adding bioswales and rainwater detention ponds. The best technical solutions were green roofs with drainage delay, hollow roads and permeable pavements. Social Solutions, although unable to be mapped on the KBS toolbox, can have wide-spread impacts on how natural hazards are manifest into risk. Ensuring the local population is willing, informed and engaged with climate adaptation strategies is essential to ensure their efficacy. Living Labs have been identified as a methodology that involves diverse stakeholders in any given adaptation project. In this sense, Living Labs can tie together nature-based, technical and social solutions in an integrated form. Further, there is a need to test the effectiveness of each proposed measure and any possible co-benefits that may arise. The Living Lab methodology could do so with stakeholder co-creation, meanwhile addressing user values, behaviours and practices. Follow up research evaluating how the proposed 2050 land-use design will impact the form of flooding and heat stress would provide valuable insight into how risk will manifest in the future vision. Testing measures from the KBS toolbox on this land-use design will provide a valuable comparison to this study. Finally, researching un-intended consequences and strategies to diversify the risk portfolio of GBO is necessary to ensure the campus is resilient to the impacts of future climate change.