Southern Europe is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change (the Mediterranean basin in particular), according to most climate models. It will experience a notable increase in temperature, stress on water sources and extreme weather events. The European strategy on climate change adaptation of 2013 promotes actions in Member States to adapt to climate change through a range of guidelines, studies and tools. In line with this EU priority, Italy adopted its National Adaptation Plan in 2017, with emphasis on the Po Valley, where the territory of the Città Metropolotina di Milano(CMM)is located. This area has a high number of hot days and consecutive dry days and the NPA forecasts indicate that it is likely that the number of summer days will increase along with winter precipitation. The Paris Agreement, along with the new Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, recognises that urban centers have a crucial role to play in the adaptation process.
LIFE METRO ADAPT aimed to mainstream adaptation strategies and measures in the development of a territorial plan for CMM and in the planning and building rules of the 134 CMM municipalities. It would achieve this aim through the adoption of an innovative approach that identifies the role of intermediate governing bodies. The project also planned to promote nature-based solutions to meet a range of objectives, such as the reduction of the flooding risk and the heat-island effect, while also regenerating neglected urban spaces.
The project planned moreover to enhance bottom-up initiatives and thus increase citizen awareness and engagement in issues related to climate change adaptation. The implementation of demonstration facilities would directly involve stakeholders from the building sector and engineering professionals working in water management. Furthermore, the project aimed to develop innovative meteorological satellite data and high precision soil sealing maps, in order to produce detailed vulnerability analysis (focusing in particular on heat islands and floods). The aim was to ensure the availability of information specific to each municipality.
Finally, the project aimed to develop a network of metropolitan areas in Italy and elsewhere in Europe to enhance the mainstreaming of adaptation policies and measures and support the implementation of nature-based solutions.
LIFE METRO ADAPT mainstreamed climate change adaptation strategies and measures in the new territorial plan of the Metropolitan City of Milan (Città Metropolitana di Milano: CMM) in Italy. This has successfully enhanced bottom-up initiatives related to adaptation throughout the metropolitan area. The project team created an effective governance model, and significantly increased awareness of climate change issues among the general public, technical stakeholders, and local policymakers. They spread the ‘culture’ of climate change adaptation, in particular nature-based solutions (NBS) and sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), through a series of legal and guidance documents. These outputs will provide long-term support for policymaking in various field and at different levels. By the end of the project, three Local Authorities had applied the project’s guidelines to their local planning tools and eight others used them for applying for regional financing for climate change adaptation measure, with many more expected to follow.
Specifically, the main project achievements and outputs were:
- 133 datasets, for setting baselines of the Covenant of Mayors SECAPs, made available to all metropolitan municipalities (part of the METRO ADAPT platform);
- METRO ADAPT Platform, hosted on CMM’s website, as an integral part of the PTM (Piano territoriale metropolitano), a unique legislative tool elaborated during the project through a participatory process. The PTM hosts several tools developed by the project team, including guidelines to access funding for adaptation measures, and legal standards and rules to enhance resilience measures in local planning tools;
- Climate Knowledge Network, bringing together research entities, local municipalities, other projects and other metropolitan cities, to support the delivery of the PTM;
- Two feasibility studies for NBS/SuDS drafted, and two pilots set-up for demonstration purposes in Solaro and Masate (reducing flood risks and Urban Heat Island effects);
- Representatives of more than 1 000 utilities, decision makers and technicians working in the 133 administrations of CMM and in Lombardia regional authorities participated in capacity building workshops on how to develop their own vulnerability studies, implement adaptation strategies and NBS, and generally trained on the contents of the PTM.
The project team successfully conducted replication-oriented activities. Groups of the environmental association Legambiente in Milan area and in other metropolitan cities signed a manifesto with a series of commitments to climate change adaptation (signed by 10 so far), and the project model and tools were transferred into several river contracts as local strategic planning instruments in different sub-basins. Proposed NBS measures have also been replicated by the associated beneficiary Gruppo CAP.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).