The CLEVER project

The CLEVER Project: Urban and Environmental Resilience Tools for Climate Change

The CLEVER approach comprises a conceptual framework and a suite of technical and software tools for the estimation, evaluation, reduction and management of urban and environmental risks related to climate change. The aim of CLEVER is to provide technical support to decision makers and stakeholders in the best-practice assessment and selection of adaptation strategies based on their suitability and compatibility with urban and environmental planning and development. The CLEVER framework can be applied with generality to multiple natural and man-made risks.

CLEVER stems from an initiative of Georisk Engineering S.r.l. The project was developed in collaboration with the REMHI (REgionalModels and geo-Hydrological Impacts) division of the CMCC Foundation.

The innovative character of the CLEVER approach lies in the built-in capability to effectively transpose and mainstream the quantitative technical outputs related to adaptation strategies into the development and appraisal of urban and environmental policies, plans and programs.

The quantitative estimation, objective evaluation and planning-based management of risks provides an important support to Administrators and stakeholders in the definition and prioritization of investments as well as pre-empting future hazardous events and taking specific actions aimed at local mitigation.

The conceptual CLEVER framework is shown in Figure 1.

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Figure 1. Conceptual framework of the CLEVER approach



Example application: climate adaptation for the Municipality of Prato (Italy) supporting the City's Development Plan

The CLEVER approach was implemented in the city of Prato (Tuscany, Italy) as a support tool for the "Piano Operativo" (Development Plan) currently in the process of being compiled. The goals of the application, funded by the Municipality of Prato, were the estimation, evaluation and mitigation of risk from heat waves on the senior population (over 65 years of age) for present-day and future scenarios. To this purpose, the structured CLEVER framework accommodated quantitative models for the estimation of hazard, vulnerability and risk as well as risk mitigation effects as provided by cutting-edge research in the fields of climate science and heatwaves risk mitigation actions. The results of the application were integrated into the "Valutazione Ambientale Strategica" (Strategic Environmental Assessment), a systematic decision support process promoted by the European Union Directive (2001/42/CE) and transposed in the form of prescriptions in several Regional Laws of Tuscany.

Estimation of hazard and risk

Figura 2 shows the heat wave hazard map for the city of Prato for the year 2011. The risk map in Figure 3 highlights the spatial variability of risk of heat waves.

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Figure 2. Heat wave hazard for the city of Prato - year 2011
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Figure 3. Heat wave risk for the senior population in the city of Prato - year 2011

Estimation of the temporal evolution of climate change-induced risk

Future variations in atmospheric patterns at the regional scale were estimated through the results of climate simulations conducted by the REMHI (REgionalModels and geo-Hydrological Impacts) Research Division of the CMCC Foundation.
Figure 4 and Figure 5 show the maps of specific risk (i.e., the risk per inhabitant) averaged over the 30-year periods 1981-2010 and 2020-2050, respectively, for the concentration scenario RCP4.5. Comparison of the two maps highlights the relevance of the increases in frequency and intensity of thermal discomfort phenomena due to climate change.

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Figure 4. Map of specific risk to heat waves, average over the period 1981-2010
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Figure 5. Map of specific risk to heat waves, average over the period 2020-2050

Utilization of results in urban development planning

In the CLEVER approach, adaptation scenarios are analyzed and assessed quantitatively with respect to the magnitude of risk reduction given by the implementation of mitigation measures and policies. In the application to the city of Prato, such feature was exploited with the purpose of defining how to intervene in the restoration and upgrading of green urban spaces through the planting of shading vegetation, which is able to bring a decrease in temperature within and around the vegetated areas themselves. Figure 6 shows the "cooling effect" due to the shading vegetation existing in the city in the year 2011.

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Figure 6. Cooling effect due to shading vegetation - year 2011