Application of sustainable solutions to reduce the impact
of heavy rains and extreme temperatures
Main location: Barcelona, Spain
The Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB, located at NE of the Iberian Peninsula), is made up to 36 municipalities having a total surface of 636 km² and 3,239,337 inhabitants. Barcelona is one of the most populated cities in the world (160 inh./ha in a surface of 10135.3 ha in 2018). Furthermore, the touristic activity has increased enormously in the last decades (32,571,533 overnight stays in 2018). To the west of the AMB there is the Collserola mountain (512 m.a.s.l.) where all streams that cross Barcelona city are born. To the south, there is the Llobregat River (surface basin of 4,948 km²) and to the north the Besós River (1038.31 km²). This orography, together with the Mediterranean climate itself, favours the generation of flash-floods and surface water floods. On the other hand, the region experiences hot summers with daily and night temperatures above 35ºC and 23ºC respectively. The high thermal stress is accentuated by the proximity of the sea, which contributes to also have a high humidity. Climate scenarios point to an increase in heavy rainfalls and extreme temperatures. The main challenge of the Barcelona Living Lab is the development of adaptation measures that decrease the impact of extremes without increasing the impact on climate and environmental change.
Environmental areas you address
The Barcelona Living Lab is focused on the Climate Action and Extreme Events. However, having in mind that adaptation measures should be sustainable, it has a transversal axe related with Energy Consumption and Water Cycle.
How to participate?
The participation mode will be designed after the first I-CHANGE Common workshop with all the stakeholders that will be held in Barcelona next 1 July 2022.
The experiments will be decided through a co-creative process, that will take into account the following considerations:
- Involve citizens and stakeholders in the green European transition project based on more sustainable adaptation measures to face heavy rains / floods and extreme temperatures.
- Knowledge transference from the academic field to different sectors of the population for them empowerment in facing extreme events.
- Promote and generate a mutual learning environment.
- Identification of the main problems related to the disaster cycle, especially those aspects related with social behaviour and communication.
- Improve the early warning system
- Identification of the existing adaptation solutions and which are the main drivers and barriers to overcome for implementation.
- The execution of a co-creative processes to propose and prioritize new nature-based solutions (NBS) in the Living-Lab territory.
- Develop new citizen cooperation networks to face extreme situations.
- Look for new cross-cutting solutions that take into account the ODS to be defined through the co-creation process in the first workshops.
The experiments are going to be designed after the first I-CHANGE Common workshop with all the stakeholders that will be held in Barcelona next 1 July 2022.
Between 1981 and 2015, there were 109 episodes of flooding in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, of which 64 affected the city of Barcelona. They were usually consequence of heavy and local rains that caused minor damage, thanks to the existing management measures, but hinder the development of daily life and seriously affect traffic and the consequent pollution. Heavy rains in this region are expected to increase as a result of climate change, therefore, the adaptation measures need to be improved. 52.8% of the surface area of the AMB is urban type, implying a notable Urban Heat Island effect. Coastal peri-urban areas register about 4°C less than in the middle of the city. For an average summer day (24ºC-27ºC), the risk of mortality is 40% higher than the average risk of mortality in most of the city; for a heat wave, this relative risk is greater than 80% in half part of the city. Future scenarios point to an increase of the relative risk that can overcome 100% in all the city. In this case the most usual adaptation measure is the installation of conditioned air, that dramatically increase the energy consumption.
Our main partners are the University of Barcelona and the Fundació Bosch i Gimpera. We have the support since the very beginning of I-CHANGE, of the company BCASA, SA, and the Advisory Council of Sustainable Development of Catalonia.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037193.