Credits: Claudia De Blasi

Ideas and solutions to face coastal erosion and foster the sustainable development of the  seaside of Lecce, art and science in dialogue to address sea level rise in Venice, green infrastructures to enhance urban resilience to climate change in Sassari, Copernicus data for developing green and blue urban networks in Bologna: these are the issues at the center of the Climathon challenges of Lecce, Venezia, Sassari and Bologna, the events that the CMCC Foundation contributed to organize (Lecce, Venice) or supported with the participation or involvement of its researchers (Sassari, Bologna).
Climathon, a global 24-hour climate change event that took place simultaneously in major cities around the world on October 27-28, 2017, invited participants to find innovative and sustainable ideas and solutions and address the main climate change related risks and impacts in their own city.

The Climathon organized in Lecce, Venice, Sassari and Bologna experienced a great interest, engagement and participation of civil society and local and national media; the ideas and solutions presented and brought to the attention of local institutions and authorities are the result of an innovative, interdisciplinary approach for an effective collaboration between people from different disciplines; the cities will take them into account when planning and implementing their strategic urban development plans and local adaptation plans.
But let’s see in the detail what happened city by city.

Lecce: the city and its seaside at risk
Which innovative, technological and sustainable solutions may be defined for monitoring coastal erosion along the Lecce coastline and plan coast development accordingly?
The city of Lecce tried to answer to this question with its Climathon while searching for new interdisciplinary approaches and methods for an integrated management of its area to support a more synergic and durable, physical and economic development of the coastline.
Organized by the CMCC Foundation in collaboration with the Municipality of Lecce, Climathon Lecce ended with the presentation of the six ideas developed by participants. More in detail, the local panel awarded the project entitled “LinkShiftShare” realized by Chiara De Rinaldis, Giuseppe Scandone, Federico Paperi, Michele Perrotti, Nunzio Luciano Fazio. The project aims at reducing the anthropic pressure on coastal zones in particular with the realization of an integrated management of traffic flow within coastal areas in order to regulate and control the access to the seaside and the coastal dune environment while monitoring entertainment activities and tourism flows in the area of interest.

Venice: Arts and Science for (Climate) Change
Can art and science collaborate to translate scientific facts into emotions and at the same time create innovative solutions to Venice climate challenges?
The Climathon Venice 2017, an event organized by the CMCC Foundation in the person of researcher Silvia Santato in collaboration with Università Ca’ Foscari, Spazio Micro-Mega arte e cultura, Municipality of Venice and Venice Climate Lab, explored the issue while addressing tailor made solutions for enhancing mitigation and adaptive capacity. The focus was both on the built environment of the Venice city centre, i.e. buildings, bridges and public spaces (squares, streets) but also on the lagoon.

The winning solution “Raise up before sea level rise” is oriented to drive a change in people’s behaviour toward solutions and decisions able to mitigate sea level rise. The guiding pillar is about to increase public awareness about sea level rise. The idea is articulated in two parts which include i) a huge lifebuoy/raft will be placed in an iconic campo (the square of Venice), acting as a safe meeting point in case of violent future floods and as an art installation and ii) a community-based platform to recover unused upper-floor apartments in a cooperative refurbish-and-rent framework. 
At a wider level, a web platform will be built to involve both residents and tourists in a game: thanks to systems thinking and more academic knowledge, lifestyle choices (e.g. travel means, diet, etc.) will be matched to a specifically-designed “sea level rise footprint”; gamification will be attractive thanks to prizes (museum tickets, anecdote, etc.).

Sassari: urban resilience and green infrastructures
The challenge of urban regeneration by implementing strategies to improve the sustainability and the quality of life of the urban system: the city of Sassari wanted to increase its resilience to climate change by planning, designing and realizing green solutions and infrastructures such as green roofs, permeable surfaces, arboriculture and urban forestry, green spaces such as parks and district green areas.

The project awarded was “The Green in Connection” aimed at addressing the challenge of adaptation to climate change while increasing social cohesion and public involvement, participation and engagement.
CMCC researchers Serena Marras, Valentina Bacciu, Valentina Mereu e Simone Mereu contributed to the project. Moreover, researcher Valentina Mereu has been selected by the municipality of Sassari as expert in the field and takes part to the event as Invited Speaker, with a speech entitled “Percorsi, strumenti e applicazioni per costruire l’adattamento ai cambiamenti climatici” (Paths, tools and applications to build up adaptation to climate change).

“The Green in Connection” project aims at creating a network of green areas in the historical center of the city of Sassari by the use of an App; citizens must register and then they will be guided to develop the project of their own gardens: they will receive suggestions to reduce carbon emissions or increase biodiversity, i.e. preferring Mediterranean plants. The App will evaluate gardens’ environmental performance and virtuous people will receive some credits to be used in a virtual circuit. Everybody can register to vote the best garden project or leave comments and suggestions.
The green network created will have an important touristic and social value and the gardens will provide a great place for the community for the organization of events. Moreover, the project appears to be low-cost, easy to implement and reproducible in other areas of the city and even in other cities.

Bologna: Copernicus for developing green and blue urban networks
The development of green and blue urban networks are strategies identified by the Local Adaptation Plan of the city of Bologna as tools of urban and environmental planning that can contribute in reducing either the impacts and vulnerabilities of climate change, increasing the outdoor comfort and the hydrogeological responsiveness of the city. Moreover, blue and green networks help in mitigating air pollution and overall increasing the urban resilience.
For this reason, green and blue urban networks were at the center of the Copernicus Climathon organized in Bologna.
The participants to the Bologna Climathon were requested to develop innovative products and services ideas to establish blue and green networks in the urban area of Bologna. The challenge proposed was to identify strategies and instruments to restore green areas and ecosystem services in order to reconnect the ecological corridors. In particular, participants must consider and use the free accessible data provided by the Copernicus programme, the European Earth Observation Programme.
CMCC researcher Stefano Materia gave his support in the definition of the challenge and as technical tutor for participants.
The first prize was shared by two projects, that is “Stay cool” and “Zefiro” projects. The “Stay cool” project aims at creating safe places in case of extreme events such heat waves; these places will be in particular dedicated to the more vulnerable bracket of the population (elderly people, the poorest and marginalized people).
The “Zefiro” project is an App to be proposed to companies and enterprises; the App uses many kind of data, such as Copernicus data, municipal statistics or user reviews, in order to find the best path to go to work or do some exercise or (i.e. avoiding traffic congested areas, sidewalks in poor condition and dark streets).
The two project can easily integrate and complement each other while contributing to the Local Adaptation Plan of the city of Bologna.

For more information on Climathon events, read also: