The aim of the project is to support urban planners in decision making, by developing strategies and action plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation in small- to medium-sized cities in Austria.

Cities are particularly vulnerable to increasing temperatures from climate change because of a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Increased temperatures in urban areas are a result of higher amounts of impervious surfaces, lack of vegetation, and concentrated urban structures. The UHI affects human health and wellbeing, and heat waves in urban areas have contributed to loss of life. The heat wave in 2003 for example, resulted in 30,000 deaths across Europe. Future predictions for the continent are considerably more severe, with 152,000 people predicted to perish annually between 2071 and 2100 [1]. 

Large cities like Vienna have already investigated the UHI effect and have developed possible climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, little work has been done in small to medium sized Austrian cities that are also affected by heat waves in the summer. Moreover, with increasing urbanization, urban planners of these cities need solutions for mitigating the effects of UHI as their cities expand in the future.

Hence the overall aim of the Urban Climate Change Adaptation for Austrian Cities: Urban Heat Islands (ADAPT-UHI) project is to support urban planners in decision making through the provision of climate services that can guide the development of strategies and action plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Funded by the Austrian Climate Research Fund (ACRP), the project will be demonstrated on three small to medium sized pilot cities in Austria. The more specific project objectives are:

  • To generate climate indicators and a UHI-risk index for the country
  • To generate multiple scenarios of future climate for the three pilot cities
  • To present a range of possible solutions to aid in decision making 
  • To contribute to capacity building in Austria in the area of climate smart services as part of a larger provision of services related to smart cities

Led by IIASA, the project consortium consists of Federal Environment Agency Austria (UBA), Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) and International Project Management Agency Klagenfurt on Lake Wörthersee GmbH (IPAK).

IIASA will lead the project management, decision support, and dissemination work packages of the project. In addition, IIASA researchers will be responsible for engagement activities with the pilot cities regarding elicitation of the user requirements, the development of the visualization tool for the climate- and risk indicators and the results of the city scenarios, as well as for the calculation of increased health risks due to the UHI effect. 


[1] Forzieri G, Cescatti A, e Silva FB, Feyen L (2017). Increasing risk over time of weather-related hazards to the European population: a data-driven prognostic study. Lancet Planet Health 1:e200–e208.