HeatResilientCity II

Heat adaptation of urban building and settlement structures - Actor-oriented implementation support for increasing climate resilience and health care

In the research project HeatResilientCity II (HRC II), practitioners are qualified on the basis of research results to accelerate and consolidate the implementation of adaptation measures against summer heat. The second funding phase builds on the results of the preceding HRC project (10/2017 - 01/2021), which developed and implemented effective, socially just and user-accepted adaptation measures. It also identified key actors, drivers and constraints of adaptation measures.

This knowledge base, which will be expanded and generalised in HRC II at the level of different building and settlement structure types, will be used to provide "customised" advice and qualifications to practitioners. The knowledge will also be established in existing and newly created networks. The joint project HRC II is based on the well-proven research network, which has been expanded to include partners from the field of health promotion and prevention.


The focus of HRC II is the transfer of knowledge to society. The aim of knowledge transfer is to qualify, advise and empower actors in civil society, associations, local governments, politics, business and non-governmental organisations for implementation on the basis of research results. The work addresses specific constraints to implementation that were already intensively studied in the first HRC funding phase. These are (1) often missing or unclear responsibilities, as climate adaptation is a voluntary task in German municipalities, the low level of inter-agency cooperation on the cross-sectional task of climate adaptation and the lack of resources in the administrations, (2) heterogeneous ownership structures, (3) perceived lack of responsibility, (4) lack of knowledge or (5) lack of awareness on the part of the housing owners and managers, the municipal administrations, the affected citizens and the other practitioners addressed.

Effective communication and cooperation formats are developed for the various concerns of knowledge transfer, involving the actors and their needs. The impact-oriented communication design in the different formats serves to strengthen the motivational factors that act as drivers, such as problem awareness, responsibility and knowledge. In the qualifications, workshops, consultations and transfer-oriented communication processes offered, applicable knowledge is generated and integrated into the decision-making and implementation-preparing processes of the actors.

HeatResilientCity (HRC) - Heat resilient development of cities and urban districts - knowledge generation with a focus on local residents and implementation in Dresden and Erfurt



Challenges HRC

How does it feel to live with hot outside temperatures in a strongly compacted residential quarter? In such neighborhoods, heat stress is a serious issue for residents, as summer heat waves can significantly reduce people's well - being and performance both indoors and outdoors, leading to serious health problems.

It is considered certain that the summer heat stress in Central Europe will increase due to progressive climate change. However, the exact impact of this on people outdoors and in buildings and how effectively adaptation measures can mitigate the adverse effects are only beginning to be understood.

How can the quality of life be improved with reasonable effort despite summer heat? What role do the building structure and the materials used play? How much energy will be needed in the future - for heating in winter and cooling in summer? What real effect can one expect from façade greening, open watercourses and green areas? These questions are the focus of the project. The involvement of the residents is of central importance here . In addition, the project aims to fill the term "ecosystem service" with concrete content with regard to the heat balance of urban districts.

Aims HRC

HeatResilientCity (HRC) develops and implements innovative, socially just and user accepted adaptation measures to reduce the summer heat load of people in buildings and open spaces. The interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research network analyses the existing conflicts of objectives, increases the acceptance of climate adaptation measures, reduces implementation barriers and thus makes a contribution to sustainable urban development.

Example quarters in Dresden and Erfurt serve as real - life laboratories. Here the project team asks for the opinion of the residents. Together with the scientific partners, actors from the building industry and urban development form a creative and innovative environment. The two municipalities coordinate the inner - city networking, organize and coordinate the work in the real - life laboratories and support the development and implementation of adaptation measures through the participation of their specialist authorities and through their prestige with the citizens as non - commercial administrators of the general public.

Modules HRC

Module 1 | Impact assessments of climate change and various options for adaptation

The module provides current and future climatic input quantities for the districts in Dresden and Erfurt. The adaptive measures against heat stress developed and selected in module 3 are being investigated in several areas. For example, the thermal loads on residents in open spaces and in buildings, the effects of average climatic loads and climatic extremes on buildings, the future demands on building services systems and the climate-regulating performance of urban ecosystems are analyzed.

The processing of module 1 results in data adjusted for heat-related climate risks for the neighborhoods in Dresden-Gorbitz and the district of Erfurt Oststadt, e.g., the definition of a medium and extreme summer heat period in the climate period 2021 to 2050. In addition, the input data for the determination of human biometeorological indices are generated. With the help of these measures, the heat stress of the residents in the present and future can be assessed. The effects of future heat spells on ecosystem services and biodiversity are also considered for the investigated districts in Dresden and Erfurt. At the building level, the energy requirements of the existing stock are analyzed under changed climatic conditions, in particular for an extension and intensification of summer heat waves. Thus, the data and tools of module 1 support the knowledge transfer in module 2 as well as the development and testing of options for climate change adaptions in module 3.

Module 2 | Actors' perspectives on local climate adaptation processes

The module analyzes and describes ongoing as well as completed climate adaptation measures within the cities of Erfurt and Dresden. By interviewing stakeholders from housing companies, city administrations and NGOs as well as citizens, strengths and weaknesses of previous adaptation measures in both cities will be identified. The collected data will then be visualized with the help of a network analysis. Apart from that, international and national ‘good practices’ illustrate how climate adaptation can be practiced successfully in cities. An exhibition of ‘good practices’ will be prepared and shown to the public in both cities in summer 2019. Within the heat stressed neighborhoods, surveys and information events will enable local residents to learn about heat stress and to become involved with the scientific process. As a special form of inquiry, ‘mental maps’ are used to cartographically detect the subjective heat perception of local residents. The results of those ‘personal heat maps’ are then compared to actually measured temperature values within the example quarters. The results of the interviews and surveys, conclusions from participatory events as well as expert opinions and findings will be processed scientifically and compiled.

Module 3 | Implementation at the level of residents and neighborhoods

This module considers the input variables on climate change (Module 1) as well as the perceptions, expectations and behavioral patterns of residents (Module 2) from the project areas. On this groundwork, specific options are developed for actions at the level of local residents (WP 3.1), the building sector (WP 3.2) as well as in the Environmental Departments of the state capitals Dresden (WP 3.3) and Erfurt (WP 3.4). These specific options are then tested in the two project areas.

The module makes on the one hand use of data and tools from Module 1 in order to develop innovative forms of adaptation by considering both effectiveness and efficiency. On the other hand, working approaches and techniques from module 2 are used for the resident-oriented management and supervision of the negotiation and prioritization processes in order to ensure socially balanced and accepted measures.

Module 4 | Inter- and transdisciplinary project management

The close collaboration of scientists and practitioners enables a transdisciplinary development of the project. A co-design of the various sub-tasks is thus necessary, whereby the contents, goals and work processes closely reflect the practical requirements, potentials and windows of opportunity.

The core elements of a project management that strives for cooperation and the intelligent division of tasks are: (a) the joint discussion and management of the main research questions and their linkage by a project steering group with equal voting rights for scientists and practitioners; (b) the provision and moderation of suitable formats for information and communication at project level; (c) the continuous supervision of planning and negotiation processes in the two project areas as well as (d) the risk management on the basis of wide experience gained in collaborative projects with complex and demanding constellations of partners.