13 October 2021

Regensburg Develops New Climate Resilience Strategy

ICLEI member Regensburg’s dense (and historic) urban center faces increasing temperatures in summer, along with heavy rain and issues with air circulation. It just so happens that this historic inner city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, which not only calls for the preservation of the area from the impacts of climate change, but also for careful planning that takes into account the restrictions intended to protect the site. The City’s new Climate Resilience Strategy centers the challenges mentioned above, among others, and according to Katharina Schätz, Climate Resilience Manager ( Klimaresilienzmanagerin) in Regensburg (Germany); “the goal is to develop measures that make a difference in practice, as well as basic measures like an urban heat map that show where to localise them.”

This new strategy comes just as Regensburg has begun to take part in the ARCH Mutual Learning Framework. In this framework, Regensburg has teamed up with other cities facing similar climate hazards, like Hamburg (Germany), Liverpool (United Kingdom) and Thessaloniki (Greece). As part of the Mutual Learning Framework and through a series of collaborative workshops, these cities gather to exchange ideas and resilience-boosting practices for their historic areas.

This networked approach blends well with Regensburg’s iterative mindset when it comes to building its Climate Resilience Strategy. The plan has been developed in two parts: In 2019, with a focus on developing the pieces of the strategy that deal with water management, and now, in 2021, with heat taking a more central role. This will ultimately, lead to a strategy for heat management. All this has been informed by an interactive and collaborative process, with surveys reaching more than 1600 respondents from stakeholders, and workshops throughout.

Schätz also noted that this is not the first time that Regensburg has begun to think about climate resilience; “I attended the European Resilience Forum in 2019 as a climate resilience manager, which was very motivating and helpful, especially in getting new contacts and tips how to start such a big change. Also the ARCH project is very helpful…” This resilience work can also be traced back to local research projects starting in 2009, like the “Experimenteller Wohnungs- und Städtebau,“ an experimental and innovative model that linked climate adaptation, housing and urban planning. Now, the hope is that the ideas outlined in Regensburg’s Climate Resilience Strategy will help inform the forthcoming Urban Development Plan, which will guide policy through 2040.

Now, Regensburg is moving toward the implementation phase of its new Climate Resilience Strategy, during which the City will put into practice solutions like de-paving for more permeable surfaces, re-greening of different spaces and awareness-raising efforts. The City and its residents are soon to see the results of their work in action: a resilience-building process that is connected, inclusive and informed by Regensburg’s involvement in cross-city collaboration.

To learn more about Regensburg's Climate Reslience Strategy, click here.