RESCCUE: apply resilience from the planning to the operation
15 November 2016
The European RESCCUE project formed the framework of the conference “Building a more resilient Barcelona in the face of climate change”, held on Monday, 14 November 2016 in Cornellà de Llobregat. This was the project’s first public conference, in which the different points of view on urban resilience were shared and the future challenges of Barcelona were identified. With the Barcelona case study, RESCCUE is analyzing the risks associated with climate change in urban services, such as water supply, urban drainage, wastewater treatment, the electricity grid, transport, telecommunications and waste treatment. To undertake the analysis, the interdependences existing between all these services are studied.
The conference was co-organized by Aquatec-Suez Advanced Solutions and Cetaqua and was attended by over 50 people, including representatives from public institutions, managers and operators of urban services, researchers and professionals from the field of urban resilience. Following a general introduction on urban resilience and a specific presentation of the RESCCUE project, there was a round table entitled “The importance of comprehensive resilience management in urban areas: current situation and future prospects”. The different channels to achieve a more resilient Barcelona were discussed, with the help of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (ATM), Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), Aigües de Barcelona, Telefónica, Endesa and Barcelona City Council.
Awareness-raising, flexibility, planning and operation are the key elements
One of the main conclusions of the conference was that it is necessary to raise the awareness both of society and of the professionals from the sector in order to take resilience into account as a fundamental part of the management of urban services. Above all, this should be done in a comprehensive manner, that is to say taking into account how the management of each service affects the rest.
Flexibility is one of the central pillars of resilience, as many of these infrastructures are marked by a layout and we must take it into account from the beginning in order to be able to modify them. This factor should moreover be taken into account from when the development and evolution of a city is planned. There must be a comprehensive planning, taking medium and long-term scenarios into account, thinking of resilience, giving rise to resilience action plans. Furthermore, high redundancy was pointed out as a possible solution, that is to say duplicating them at critical points in order to have a greater capacity for response in the face of extreme phenomena and other crisis events which may arise. It is also essential to design urban services in such a way that you can act, if possible, on their operation in real time, once they have been introduced, thus increasing their flexibility on being more capable of adapting to changing situations. The introduction of green infrastructures is another of the measures which reinforce the adaptability of the system.
Another key concept which was discussed at the conference was business continuity. Urban resilience implies guaranteeing the quality of the service, foreseeing crisis situations, reacting optimally when they occur, and establishing the most adequate procedures to recover from them. This increasingly results in the need for a co-ordinated real-time operation of services and urban infrastructures.
The objective of RESCCUE is to provide the end users with practical and innovative models and tools to confront the challenges of climate change and build more resilient cities. The project will create urban resilience tools with a multifactorial approach, for current and future climate scenarios, including possible risks. The four-year project is focusing on three case studies: Barcelona, Lisbon and Bristol, although with potential worldwide expansion thanks to the participation in the project of UN-Habitat. RESCCUE is coordinated by Aquatec-Suez Advanced Solutions and co-financed by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.