H. Glas, G. Deruyter, A. Debruyne
Thursday 11 October 2018 by Libadmin2018


Every year, the environment suffers from flooding, droughts, storm surges and other natural hazards, causing major damages and costs to society. Climate change will drastically increase the impact of these disasters and their consequences in the next few decades. Governments and project developers try to cope with these new conditions by implementing technocratic and landscape-led measures in their new urban development projects. However, it is often unclear if these efforts will lead to the desired effects and will be sufficient for creating a climate resilient environment in the future. Therefore, a methodology was developed for an automated climate test that allows the evaluation of every new urban development project on its resilience to the future climate challenges. Three stages of each project are analysed. First the current situation of the project site is evaluated. In a second step, the short term effects of the project on its environment are analysed. The third stage is at the end of the expected lifespan of the project. This step evaluates the long term effects. The output of this automated climate test is a report with maps, graphs and tables that lists the potential risks and opportunities of the planned project. This offers the project developer the necessary information to adapt the project plans to ensure its climate resilience.
The climate test is developed as a GIS toolbar, which offers a variety of automated analyses of the available geographic data of the project site, generating a first evaluation. Furthermore, the toolbar provides the user with the possibility to add information and data, and evaluate the risk and opportunities of the project. In a first test, the climate test methodology is implemented for a road construction project in the Belgian Coastal city of Ostend, as part of the EU funded project SCAPE. Future rainfall and flooding is analysed, as well as potential heat island effects. The first outputs show promising results, providing the user with clear and useable information on the project site, but there is still more detailed data and expert input necessary to provide a full report on the climate resilience of the project in the future.

Keywords: climate change, Ostend, urban development, climate test, GIS

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