Climate Crisis Adaptation – Strategies Towards Resilience – from Different Perspectives and in Comparable Conditions as Starting Points for Urban and Architectural Interventions in Milan and Vienna

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Submission Summary
Background and Status Quo – the “Problem” Over the course of the last five years, most large cities have been experiencing dramatic effects of the climate crisis. In August 2018, the New York Times published “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change,” an explicit chronicle of all the ignored warnings based on scientific evidence and the missed opportunities to counteract global heating when it was still comparably easy to do so. Research and Action Plan This paper focuses on illustrating different scenarios for cities on a 1.5-degree pathway, meaning a 50-55% net emissions reduction by 2030 versus 2010 levels. Five major shifts would underlie a transition to this pathway: 1. Industry 2. Transport 3. Power 4. Buildings 5. Avoided Deforestation & Agriculture Depending on the different functions of the global cities, various conditions arise as starting points for potential interventions. The two selected cities, Milan and Vienna have a lot in common, as they are comparable in size, population, social set-up and geographic position, and experience e.g. the increase of heat in the city. Both cities have already invested to become carbon neutral. Current strategies in both cities will serve as groundwork regarding their applicability elsewhere. Urban and architectural interventions will be evaluated and exchanged to share knowledge. The goal is a flexibly applicable and further developable parts kit. Vienna suffers from a lack of green spaces in the inner districts. High pollution levels in Milan negatively affect the population but politicians rated businesses interests higher. The COVID-19 outbreak in Vienna and Milan acted as a game-changer. Streets were closed and driving lanes reduced to facilitate pedestrian and cycle movement at safe distances. Will any of these interventions remain? There are good reasons for hope. Environmental agendas have gained significant support. The public had to quickly understand complicated math curves. New behavioral patterns were adopted rapidly. Lockdowns have no immediate impact on reducing CO2 from the atmosphere. There is growing scientific evidence of a connection between environmental pollution and COVID-19-related mortality rates. Environmental factors like the pre-outbreak level of air pollution— especially nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – play a role. Geography is another factor: Teheran, Northern Italy and Madrid are surrounded by mountains that keep cold air and pollutants close to the ground. Although the negative health consequences of constant exposure to air pollution were known before, addressing them has now gained additional weight. Concluding, governments are well-advised to use the strategies developed for fighting COVID-19 to make serious efforts to fight climate change Call for Action in the Cities Cities are key contributors to climate change and at the same time their residents experience the consequences most directly through the negative impact on urban life. As a result, not only many European mayors, but also their North American and Asian counterparts have started to counteract. On one hand, the documentation of best practice examples in different cities is still valid, but cities have to simultaneously start implementing unpopular and quite radical measures if they want to achieve visible results. They have to transform the sources of energy provision, apply innovative planning solutions that avoid further sprawl leading to densification, promote a sustainable way of building and renovating the existing building stock, secure the provision of CO2-neutral public transportation and achieve the change of mobility behavioral patterns. These enormous challenges are difficult to meet alone. Act Together Cities with similar challenges and comparable resources can therefore support each other and act together. Milan and Vienna have a lot in common and experience dramatically increasing heat in the city.
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4: Safeguarding the Urban Resilience
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Architects Tillner & Willinger
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