European Cities Dealing with Climate Issues: Ideas and Tools for a Better Framing of Current Practices.
Contemporary cities have to deal with numerous challenges, from the growth and aging of urban populations to the scarcity of resources; from environmental degradation to climate change. The latter, also due to the increasing severity of climate-related impacts on urban areas, is widely considered one of the most urgent challenges for urban development in the near future: cities are the main contributors to energy consumption and GHG emissions, paying, at the same time, the highest price for the climate impacts. Thus, climate issues have gained increasing importance in the last decades, both in terms of the metaphors coined by scholars relative to urban future (low-carbon cities, transition cities, smart cities, resilient cities, etc.) and in terms of the initiatives undertaken on different institutional levels. Unfortunately, mitigation and adaptation are generally regarded as two different approaches, neglecting the potential synergies and trade-offs between the related strategies. Hence, based on the growing awareness of the need for mainstreaming mitigation and adaptation policies at city level, this study will provide an overview of the state of the art of the mitigation and adaptation initiatives in Italian metropolitan cities. Then, focusing on the concepts of the “smart” and the “resilient” city – recognized as key concepts for reducing CO2 emissions and improving the ability of cities to respond to climate impacts – and with reference to a conceptual framework for building up a smart and resilient urban system carried out in previous research works (Papa et al., 2015), the study will examine case studies of the cities of Rotterdam and Barcelona, highlighting how this framework may improve our understanding and, above all, contribute to better integration of the fragmented on-going strategies and initiatives.
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