urban & rural
The impacts of climate change are transparently obvious in urban and rural spaces, but the solutions are now also taking on increasingly concrete form in these spaces. Innovative options for integrated urban and regional planning and environmentally-friendly mobility models are needed.
Towns and settlements, including rural and suburban areas, are places where people reside, work and seek to lead fulfilling lives. They are also locations where residents are increasingly confronted with worrying climatic changes that are leading to more hot or dry spells and more extreme weather events. These changes impel politicians to pragmatically advance sustainable, carbon-neutral solutions.
Integrated urban planning and a detailed understanding of the processes at work within urban areas can make a significant contribution toward climate change mitigation and adaptation. Analyzing the potential for incorporating green infrastructure into urban areas is one possible approach toward conserving urban ecosystems, reducing biodiversity loss and promoting human health. The overarching issue here is the fair distribution and use of space for parks and green areas, street planting, the greening of facades and roofs, bicycle lanes, and other purposes.
The urban economy can supply a causal modeling framework that maps out the relationship between the shaping of the urban area and its greenhouse gas emissions in detail and thus supplies a formal foundation urban planning can build on. The planning of new developments and urban redensification processes should also be approached in an integrated manner and with a view to conserving resources. Technology, planning and selected architectural solutions must combine systems knowledge, target knowledge and transformation knowledge in an interdisciplinary fashion. Optimizing traffic modeling for the greater metropolitan region to consider climate-friendly mobility concepts and transit provision in both urban and rural regions represents another major challenge for Berlin and Brandenburg. Big data applications can support work on this and other tasks. To arrive at climate solutions with a high degree of spatial and geographical granularity, a range of data sources should be drawn on, for example satellite and aerial photography, OpenStreetMap, geolocation devices, land registries, and community weather stations. Such heterogeneous digital sources make new approaches in urban climatic research possible and also open up wide-ranging practical applications that have yet to be fully exploited. Breakthroughs in algorithmic research and computing power are also likely to expand the capacity of machine learning to extract meaningful information from vast volumes of data. Digital methods and the deployment of artificial intelligence can play a role in the identification of low-carbon and climate-adaptive urban planning solutions. With the help of digital tools, infrastructure dependent on traffic movements can be optimized in an integrated fashion enabling both urban and rural areas to make workplaces, leisure facilities and shops more accessible and to enhance delivery logistics.
Urbanization is a 21st-century megatrend, and just as megacities are developing and expanding rapidly, climate protection efforts around the world are also increasingly starting to foreground cities. Rapid urbanization, attributable not least to climate-related migration in Africa and Asia, means that decisions in these regions will have a dramatic impact on total greenhouse gas emissions.
Understanding and strategically shaping urbanization will be key to ensuring the welfare of the population and influencing local and global environmental changes in, for example, India, a country of 1.3 billion people currently experiencing a defining and rapid urbanization. Extreme heat, droughts, and intense rainfall attributable to climate change are already hazardous realities in cities in South-East Asia, South Asia, and Africa south of the Sahara. In the future, more attention should be focused in the public sphere on these countries that bear the least responsibility for climate change.