Cities are vulnerable to flooding after extreme rainfall and to heat island effects. Effective adaptation measures are necessary to make cities more resilient to climate change.
Governments working on the development and implementation of adaptation strategies are limited by the scarcity of urban space, the availability of public funds, and regulations and policies that may be in conflict with adaptation goals.
Including roofs and facades in climate adaptation strategies can be an effective way of circumventing the first problem. Roofs on houses, office buildings, hospitals and schools can be used for green infrastructure or water storage.
Stimulating private investment is one way of tackling the lack of availability of public funds, for example by including adaptation measures in building regulations for new projects or renovations. However, such a conventional, top-down approach has a limited effect.
The third problem occurs at local, national and EU level alike. Legislation related to the distribution of sustainable energy generated by property owners reduces the return on their investments.
LIFE@Urban Roofs will encourage real estate developers and building owners to invest in climate change adaptation. This new approach will see the local government acting as a stimulator and facilitator.
The project will trial the use of multifunctional roofs that have greater benefits for property owners than traditional green roofs. These roofs will combine several types of infrastructure: green (to reduce the urban heat island effect and support biodiversity), blue (water storage), yellow (energy generation) and red (social use).
Rotterdam has selected three demonstration sites to maximise the climate and publicity impact:
To boost innovation, the project will provide roof space for experimental technologies, and will organise a design contest for multifunctional roofs. It will also carry out a social cost benefit analysis (SCBA) of each site. This will allow the designs for each multifunctional roof to be optimised. The adaptation measures will then be implemented.
The effects of the adaptation measures will be monitored. Data will be used to evaluate and validate the demonstration cases. This will lead to the development of a transferrable and replicable blueprint of the approach to stimulate private investment. As part of the LIFE project, Vejle in Denmark will be the first to replicate the approach. It will intensively cooperate with Rotterdam to provide solid evidence of the validity and efficacy of the approach.