Creating Actionable Climate Science for Urban Development

Creating Actionable Climate Science for Urban Development

On 8 September 2023, the second annual Red&Blue symposium was co-hosted by the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam and Regional waterauthority Amstel, Gooi en Vecht (at headquarters Waternet) in Amsterdam. More than sixty representatives across the academic and professional fields in the areas of urban development, flood risk management, climate finance, real estate investment, climate adaptation, governance, and beyond came together to reflect on the first year of the Red&Blue program, to look ahead to the future of our five year initiative, with an eye on keeping our urbanized Dutch delta liveable and vibrant in the decades to come.

Actionability was central to this symposium, with a purpose to jointly cultivate a better shared understanding of the implications of climate science for urban governance and real estate and infrastructure adaptation strategies. In addition, the symposium provided an excellent opportunity for members of the Red&Blue community – including over 30 institutions – to forge deeper connections and develop collaborations. To enable this, we hosted interactive sessions for scientific research and practice-based partners to share and exchange insights on the challenges and potential opportunities related to the production of actionable climate science. Four fundamental questions guided the day: What actions can be taken based on the outcomes of existing climate risk assessments? Are actors already taking action or is additional information needed? Do public and private actors have a shared view of the challenges posed by climate risks and their governance? What do actors need from each other to take action?

Opening Remarks: Aiming For Impact

The symposium was opened by Ellen van Bueren, Professor of Urban Development Management at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft, and Red&Blue program co-lead. Reflecting on the progression of the program since its launch in September 2022, van Bueren provided updates on team building in the consortium – including the start of 13 PhD and Postdoctoral research programs – and efforts to create a dynamic community of practice focused on impact. Van Bueren highlighted the Red&Blue impact pathway, unpacking three concentric spheres of influence that guide our programmatic activities: (i) control: within the project consortium and core stakeholders, (ii) influence: across all professional stakeholders in key sectors, and (iii) interest: across broader civic audiences in the Dutch delta.   

‘‘This transdisciplinary research program aims for impact. Thus, the principle of translating ideas and analysis from science to society is at the core”, Van Bueren said. To deliver on this impact ambition, we have pioneered different formats and interaction styles within the consortium, from monthly “labs” for PhDs and postdocs, to public events and expert workshops.

Photo: Ineke Lammers

Morning Keynotes: What is Happening in the Field?

Following the introduction, two keynote speakers shared insights on the latest developments in creating actionable climate science in the Dutch context: Jeroen Aerts, Professor of Water and Climate Risks at VU Amsterdam, and Marco Hoogvliet, a leading expert in urban (ground) water and soil systems at Deltares.

Aerts emphasized that global natural disaster losses are not only due to climate change, but are also fuelled by socio-economic growth in the world’s largest—often vulnerable—delta and coastal regions. Aerts cited flood risk as a key threat for the Dutch financial sector, but also pointed out that physical climate risks are not explicitly factored into real estate valuation approaches today. An exploration of the influence of flood risks on the Dutch real estate market reveals that the relationship between flood risk and house prices is not strictly increasing or decreasing, suggesting that flood risks were consistently priced in the Dutch real estate market from 2016 to 2020 (see the report by van Huizen et al., 2023).

Photo: Ineke Lammers

‘‘A general improvement is seen in climate risk assessment’’

Jeroen Aerts

‘‘Currently, a general improvement is seen on climate risk assessment thanks to better methods and more open source, higher quality (elevation) data that have led to more accurate hazard exposure maps’’, said Aerts. This improvement is also shown in analyses of multiple hazards (e.g., flood, hail, and windstorms) by using composite risk maps. However, particularly when it comes to hazard vulnerability assessment, Aerts sees opportunities to improve our insights.  For example, socio-economic data (e.g., education level, age, access to evacuation routes, distance to health facilities) are often not included in vulnerability assessments. Aerts also reflected on the fact that insurance plays an important role to cover the risk of an extreme event. Although rising property catastrophe insuring costs are high on the agenda in places like the US, UK and Australia, there are currently no issues in the Dutch context, and overall there still relatively low demand for flood insurance across the EU.

Aerts stressed that behavioural risk plays a big role in damage reduction. ‘‘People understand that we need to make rational decisions when it comes to climate risks, but people also show a strong desire to live in waterfront areas, even in low-lying neighbourhoods that are not well protected against floods’’, said Aerts. Thus, behavioural risk needs to be considered when choosing adaptation measures, and raising risk awareness is an important factor for any adaptation action.

‘‘We need to make rational decisions’’

Jeroen Aerts

‘‘My biggest worry is indecisiveness’’, said Marco Hoogvliet of Deltares at the beginning of the second keynote of the day, which focused on decision-making about climate action. He observes that an overload of climate risk information may cause indecisiveness in practice today. This overload needs scrutiny. “Don’t hope for the best, prepare for the worst”, Marco emphasized. He highlighted the fact that climate change seems to occur faster than we thought, and that the rate of sea level rise can accelerate in the coming decades. “So, we need to act faster to mitigate and adapt, and fortunately, we know more and more about what we can and must do.’’

‘‘We are facing indecisiveness due to a climate risk information overload and inconsistencies in data sources and methodologies’’

Marco Hoogvliet

According to Hoogvliet, it is no longer a question of what to do about climate change impacts. “My worries are more with the indecisiveness that occurs due to the complexity of the problem and inconsistencies in data sources and methodologies for climate risk assessment”. A big question relates to what is ‘under the hood’ of all the methodologies and tools currently in use. Hoogvliet argued that it is crucial to standardize data and methods (less is more!) to facilitate clear decision-making, and thereby reduce indecisiveness.

Photo: Ineke Lammers

He also touched upon the idea of risk labels for private homes, similar to those for energy efficiency. ‘‘Homes cannot (yet) be labelled for all types of climate risks’’, Marco explained, since it requires very accurate local information and expertise. Although there are recommended solutions to cope with flood risks at the asset-level—such as increasing the capacity to store water on one’s own property—it may just be impossible to take some of the actions. The property size may be too small, or the rainfall may simply be overwhelming for the area in question.

Looking at climate risk development over time, Hoogvliet observes that making tough decisions about (large-scale) adaptation measures builds trust and helps to prevent unmanaged responses to climate risks. With that, Hoogvliet expects that large-scale action will also lower the risk of tipping points in relevant systems and markets, such as in those of real estate. Making strong decisions is no doubt politically sensitive, and it seems that in real estate, the decision itself is the main factor affecting housing prices—not climate change. So where to start making the tough decisions needed? ‘‘Making clear decisions about reserving space for (future) flood protection seems the first step’’, Hoogvliet concluded.   

Panel Discussion: The Implications of Climate Science for Decision-Making

The symposium continued with a panel discussion featuring three practitioners. To kick off the session, each panel member was asked to reflect on where they gather their climate information, and how this is changing in recent years.

Photo: Ineke Lammers

‘‘Working with multiple data sources can create confusion and ambiguity’’

Lisette van Doorn

‘‘There was very limited awareness among most actors in the real estate sector about climate risk and the need to actively monitor it. But over the last years, and in a short time period, awareness has quickly scaled-up’’, said Lisette van Doorn, Chief Executive of the European branch of Urban Land Institute, a membership organization representing thousands of real estate and land use professionals worldwide. According to van Doorn, there are notable discrepancies between outcomes from physical risk analysis tools while many using the same data sources, leading bigger players in the investment sector to use several tools or develop their own tools – and potentially leaving smaller, more budget and resource constrained actors with less insight. ‘‘The question is, are the tools we now have for climate risk assessment helpful? We cannot say that yet, as actors all over the globe investigate the issue differently”. In addition, there are also many companies that still do not consider taking adaptation measures. To assess risk, the industry also needs to account for what cities are doing or have already done to mitigate or manage climate risks. “We all need a common starting point now, one that is not for profit. We need to start speaking the same language”.

‘‘High demand for local data and risk maps at asset level’’

Derk Welling

Derk Welling is Senior Responsible Investment and Governance Manager for global real estate investments at APG, a large Dutch pension investment company. Welling explains that for any global investor, the first challenge is to map out where the assets are located and find out whether or not climate risk data and exposure maps exist for those assets. The second challenge is to explore the correlation between physical climate risk models and local information about these risks. ‘‘We experienced that data can be unreliable when making investment decisions. Different service providers may source their data from the same sources, which in most cases are free, but their models show us differing results’’, Welling said.

Everyone should be informed about climate risk and should have easy access to the relevant data and trustworthy assessment outcomes. This way, actors can have a transparent understanding of the exposure and approaches to manage it. ‘‘The amount of information that we are using for making decisions is growing rapidly, but it is important to use the best local information available. Our model’s data are often on a global scale”. Constructing an investment portfolio and decision-making process that responds to these local uncertainties and adaptation poses a great challenge for the second, according to Welling. 

Photo: Ineke Lammers

With respect to scale of action, Welling pointed out that we often focus on flood risks in the Netherlands, but we need smart investment decisions globally, because stakeholders here, particularly pensioners, are also affected by climate risks in other places. He raised the question: can we apply the same principles to investment decision-making in other countries, too?

Welling continued by raising concern about how irrational decisions continue to be made in the sector, like building in vulnerable flood zones, despite shared awareness of alarming sea-level rise scenarios. Welling also highlighted that we all need to understand how we can prepare ourselves for climate risks, and that this requires broader forms of sociological knowledge to guide us. 

‘‘Considering socio-economic vulnerabilities is key in decision making-processes’’

Josja van der Veer

Josja van der Veer, Director of Space and Sustainability of the Municipality of Amsterdam, rounded out the panel. She underscored the importance of considering the socio-economic effects of climate risk in decision-making processes. ‘‘I like the climate justice perspective and care about socio-economic effects of climate change. These need to guide our decisions as a city, which we need to make together with the public. Each decision needs to be sustainable’’, van der Veer said. She pointed out the fact that low-income people have a lower capacity to cope with heat stress, as they often do not have access cooling systems, for example. “We need to develop an integrated perspective that connects physical to socio-economic effects’’, van der Veer said.

Van der Veer also reflected on the necessity of collaboration between public and private sectors, alignment of visions, and the integration of concerns across government levels and scales when making tough decisions. Such partnerships may help to prevent poorly informed or misaligned climate risk-related decision-making.

In sum, all panel members shared an interest in open-source and high-quality data, consistent methodologies for climate risk assessment, as well as knowledge integration across sectors and disciplines, with an emphasis on societal impact and social justice as guiding principles.

Work Package Progress Pitches: What We’ve Been Up To?

In the next session, representatives from each of Red&Blue’s seven work packages (WP) provided a short introduction to their work and progress in the first year of the program. This included an introduction to 13 PhD and Postdoctoral researchers who joined our team, a sketch of their research objectives and approaches, and a few preliminary insights.

Photo: Ineke Lammers
WP1: Real Estate Climate Risk Management

Dongxiao Niu, postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University, highlighted the team’s focus on  “property, portfolio and people” when exploring real estate climate risks and their management. Among several projects underway, the team is currently analyzing the impact of climate risks on property values and their local economic consequences in Dutch regions. Preliminary findings from one case show that provision of flood risk information—through a letter from the municipality to citizens—did not affect housing prices significantly, while the real-life flood experience leads to a temporary housing price decline in affected area. Results also suggest that more risk-averse and higher-educated are more likely to relocate from relatively risky areas. In addition, the team is investigating how climate risk is in relation to mortgage appraisal and loan performance, lending behavior, and regulatory decision-making.

WP2: Governance Arrangements

Art Dewulf, Professor at Wageningen University and Research, reflected on their teams work on real estate and infrastructure climate risk governance, which has two aims: first, to enhance public policy dialogue and debate on governance barriers and opportunities, and second, to explore legislative debates on multi-scalar climate risk governance reform ideas. Researchers are conducting practice-oriented studies of institutional and governance arrangements to better understand the existing state of the practice. In addition, role-playing serious games are being planned to involve diverse partners and societal actors to explore hypothetical institutional and governance arrangements for climate adaptation. The team will also investigate the effects of a new policy that addresses development plans in flood plains and deep-lying polders. The policy discourages building in these areas, but currently the legal system in the Netherlands still allows local governments to permit such plans.  

WP3: Physical Climate Risk and Resilience Analysis

Maria Fonseca, PhD researcher at VU, highlighted that the team is currently focusing on wind and flood risk maps and will explore the other hazards such as hail in the coming years. In addition to physical risk assessment, the team also intends to better understand how an integrated view of resilience can be produced for use in practice. Towards this aim, the team is conducting a review of potential resilience indicators, maps, databases, network analysis for different hazard scenarios, and aims to assess the impacts of adaptation measures. As a preliminary output, the team showed flood damage and drowning hazard maps that have been created for the local scale, and they intend to use this methodology to calculate and map compound risks as well.

WP4: Technical Adaptation Strategies

Cees Oerlemans, PhD researcher at TU Delft, introduced the work of the WP4 team, which explores technical strategies for climate adaptation from a multi-scalar perspective. The team has two key objectives: first, to develop insights and tools for designing technical adaptation strategies for flood risk, and second, to explore how those insights will be connected to the real estate development and economic activities in hazard-prone areas. Preliminary findings show that climate change and urbanization are key entwined factors driving flood exposure in Rotterdam’s un-embanked areas, which are projected to see substantial new real estate investment in the coming years. In addition, researchers are comparing the effects of climate change and adaptation measures at different asset, regional, and national levels, with the aim to provide a decision-support tool that helps decision-makers to optimize flood risk adaptation strategies at the right scales.

WP5: Knowledge Integration

Abdi Mehvar, postdoctoral researcher at TU Delft, presented the impact-oriented research approach of the team, which focuses on knowledge integration. The teams’ objective is to identify institutional barriers and enablers for integrative climate adaptation strategies with the support of Artificial Intelligence (AI) methodologies (e.g., argument mining, value extraction, disagreement, and novelty detection) in real-world case-oriented settings. The team will collect discursive data from stakeholder debates and expert conversations between researchers and practice partners during Red&Blue meetings. The first of these was held in March 2023 in Amsterdam on the topic of real estate value-at-risk mapping. The event illuminated some of the institutionalized logics that shape the motivation and actions of the financially rationalized global real estate investment sector on one hand, and the socially concerned, local and regional government orientation of public sector stakeholders on the other. The debate showed that concerns around social justice were shared amongst public and private sector stakeholders, and that mapping values-at-risk should include financial, economic as well as social data and information to inform climate adaptation strategies. More insights on this debate can be found in the full report by Mehvar et al. (2023). Upcoming meetings will be more case based, to explore institutional barriers and enablers for concrete solutions for specific at-risk neighborhoods and districts. 

WP6: Greater Rotterdam and Amsterdam Urban Use Cases  

Ted Veldkamp, lecturer and researcher in ‘climate and water’ at Hogeschool Rotterdam introduced the urban use cases under development in the Amsterdam and Rotterdam regions, which seek to provide real-world contexts to ground, test, and validate research with societal partners. The use cases also aim to provide an interface between the consortium and societal partners in urban areas, building a broader base of collective capacity on this topic. In the first year, several use case areas have been identified and refined through regular conversations between researchers and practice partners. Efforts have focused on the co-identification of relevant challenges and needs, building a knowledge base on the use cases, and defining priority areas. The team also presented their second-year research agenda, which aims to organize recurrent ‘Knowledge and Design Ateliers’ for case studies. Shortlisted use cases in Amsterdam include Schinkelkwartier, Amstel III, and Haven-Stad, while the cases in Rotterdam include Merwe-Vierhavens and Bloemhof, and the Maasterras and 19th century ring of Dordrecht.   

WP7: Knowledge Utilization and Impact

Alankrita Sarkar, project leader at Deltametropolis Association, introduced the activities of the WP7 team, which facilitates internal consortium knowledge exchange, promotes societal dialogue, and internationalizes insights in relation to the Red&Blue three-layer impact plan introduced by van Bueren at the start of the day. Stakeholder community management (e.g., stakeholder mapping, engagement with the wider public, and expert-focused events and symposiums), communication (e.g., newsletter, and social media), and knowledge exchange (e.g., internal workshops) were presented as some of the key focus areas of the team.    

Afternoon Keynote: Charting the Changing Climate Governance Landscape in the Netherlands

The symposium continued with an inspiring afternoon from Paul Gerretsen, lead of the Deltametropolis Association. Gerretsen delivered fruitful insights on the changing climate governance landscape in the Netherlands with an appraisal of contemporary national and provincial spatial planning initiatives, focusing on regional cross-sectoral mapping efforts.

Photo: Ineke Lammers

‘‘In the Netherlands, Climate Activism Is Not as Strong as is Often Assumed”

Paul Gerretsen

‘‘Compared to other EU countries, climate activism and action in the Netherlands is not as strong as is often assumed’’, Gerretsen said. In comparison to other European countries, the share of renewable energy in the Netherlands is still quite low, and this has been overestimated in popular media, as one example. Gerretsen also stated that a total of 90 billion euro of public investments has been allocated to the national spatial programs for the coming years, which include three domains: ‘soil and water’, ‘energy and economy’, and ‘cities and regions’. However, a concrete governance framework for spending this budget effectively seems to be lacking. As an example, Gerretsen highlighted the ‘starter-pack’ that was recently provided to provinces by the Minister of Spatial Planning. This caused some tensions between the two government teers, because some provinces had already been studying climate change impacts and other spatial claims within their jurisdictions for years. Gerretsen emphasized that analyses and design studies across scales and sectors is key for understanding spatial challenges and preparing ourselves for action.

‘‘There is Room to improve Productive Collaboration for Spatial Planning across Scales and Sectors’’

Paul Gerretsen

In terms of collaboration capacity, there is room yet to improve productive ways of working between national and lower teers of government. From a political point of view, Gerretsen highlighted that more insights on the scope and depth of spatial planning challenges are needed, and this is also the case from a social point of view. ‘‘The good news is that regionalization is emerging based on a well-understood mutual dependency between municipalities in the Netherlands, in which regional-oriented solutions and qualities are appearing. Provinces support this process, and we are now observing that integrative governance approaches are taking hold at the national level. What is special about the Netherlands is how interconnected we are. We need to leverage this, make use of our interconnectedness, involve new stakeholders, and work together more often. Investments from one sector need to be combined with those from others’’, he contended. Gerretsen also stressed that challenges in spatial planning need to be addressed at all levels of scale. For example, NGOs and citizens often take integrative action, and it would be instructive for national government planners to interact with some of their local initiatives.

Breakout Sessions: Refining Our Impact Strategy

For the next part of the afternoon, we facilitated two rounds of parallel breakout sessions, or “impact tables”, focused on the five core integrated impacts that the Red&Blue program seeks to advance over the 5-year term of the program and beyond. These five impacts were co-defined with consortium stakeholders in the preparation of the program, in keeping with the “impact plan approach” of the program funder, the Dutch Science Organization (NWO). Now that the program is well underway, it is important to revisit, refine, and revise (as needed) these shared dots on the horizon. Here is an update on some of the issues discussed among scientists and practice partners in the sessions. 

Photo: Ineke Lammers
A. Physical Climate Risk and Asset Value at Risk Mapping

At impact table A, the topic of ‘‘physical climate risk and asset value-at-risk mapping’’ was explored. Participants underscored a need for clarity regarding hazard and risk assessment maps and methodologies, including consideration of the suitability of maps to support spatial planning decisions. They also reiterated the importance of considering socio-economic factors, like mortgage affordability, equity, and links to climate justice, within these assessment and mapping approaches. The high cost of land subsidence on the real estate market came up as a pressing issue that needs to be addressed by the program. Participants also flagged the need for more data from private stakeholders. During the discussions, participants shared their views on risk definitions, and the types and relevance of various climate-driven hazards, such as flooding, hail, and wind combined and their interaction with land subsidence. They also discussed types of (first and second order) impacts for these risks. The group highlighted the necessity of having more clarity about risk categorization, standardization, and the need to make tough decisions, for example, energy and flood safety. Participants also exchanged their views about asset value-at-risk mapping approaches. In addition, the group stressed that sustainability of assets and investors’ portfolios is dependent—among other factors—on existing data that is often trapped behind privacy legislations.

B. Integrating Institutionalized Risk Management Strategies

At impact table B, participants discussed ‘‘integrating institutionalized risk management strategies’’ with a focus on the Dordrecht use cases. Land subsidence, proximity of homes to the water, limited evacuation routes, mixed ownership of old houses, value depreciation due to change in property type, and less room to build new properties were revealed as some of the main real estate challenges in Dordrecht. ‘‘We at the municipality cannot address all these issues, and for that we do need a national approach’’, said Berry Gersonius, a flood safety expert from the municipality of Dordrecht, highlighting an important legal solidarity aspect. Berry stated that although some real estate investors believe that we need to jointly take action to retain the current value of houses, incentives are not fully there yet. Participants also discussed that the road towards national solutions may be long and winding, and thus proposed: why not try to solve the challenges locally? This question stressed the necessity of co-operative action and creating a safe space for stakeholders to discuss and exchange potentially sensitive strategies. Participants agreed that such a co-operative approach needs to be operationalized for the Red&Blue urban use cases, enabling actors to extract generic insights for areas with similar adaptation strategies.

C. Climate Resilience Assessment

At impact table C, participants focused on ‘‘climate resilience indicators’’, exchanging views on the challenges in resilience assessment practices. During the discussions, colleagues highlighted that the assessment of resilience is currently highly fragmented. Are we exploring physical risks? Or demographics of vulnerability and socio-economics of risk? Or more normative questions of values, like social justice? Participants find that existing frameworks are very top-down and use proxy indicators (e.g., community engagement). One participant asked: why not ask stakeholders how they define resilience in a local context? This prompted reflection on the frictions between the localization and co-ownership of indicators and standards versus a need for harmonization or baseline of approaches. Other challenges relate to prioritization of resilience indicators and how to identify interdependencies between them. Participants agreed that ‘‘it is not only about environmental and financial aspects; we need to incorporate social factors in our models as well’’. Given wide ranges of climate risk assessment models, standards and mandates, key questions remain for further consideration. For example, what resilience-related information do different stakeholders seek, and how might we think about different layers of information? And how can these insights facilitate collective action perspectives?

D. Governance Arrangement Reforms

At impact table D, participants shared their insights on existing gaps between written “rules of the game” and their associated, and often less formal, social practices as they relate to climate risk governance. A wide variety of existing governance arrangements suggests that the current policy approach is fragmented, with responsibilities distributed across levels of government and public-private actors. Different scales of responsibility make it difficult to act in integrated ways, given how assets and urban areas often face multiple risks (e.g., responsibility for sea-level rise versus the responsibility for drought and land subsidence). In addition, the varying sizes of municipalities also plays a role in terms of the institutional capacity and variety of tools available to address risk governance issues. During the discussion, participants highlighted an urgent need to assess current governance arrangements and to develop tools for change. One of the changes to be made is to shift from the current ‘conservation of habitat’ approach to more of a ‘transformative governance’ one. To better understand each other and to tackle issues jointly, participants contended that more cross-actor dialogue is crucial. However, there are a lack of spaces to make these interactions possible. One of the methods to facilitate these interactions is a serious games being currently developed by WP2 researchers. They are exploring not only ‘rules of the game’ (i.e., formal governance arrangements), but also the ‘game of the rules’ (i.e., informal governance arrangements such as values and believes). Participants also emphasized that ‘‘we need more rules that allow adaptability rather than recurrently preparing for scenarios that might be quickly outdated. Governance arrangements should allow us to bring the broad questions we are dealing with to concrete responses’’.

E. Climate Adaptation Engineering Solutions

At impact table E, participants reflected on the spatial scales and temporal horizons for which varying adaptation measures are suitable. Colleagues posed questions of whether to develop adaptive measures for building, or neighborhood, or district levels, for example. Where do we need to draw a line? Also, will we develop measures for a short or long time span, or both? Regarding the latter, participants agreed that adaptive pathways to climate change need to be feasible for both the current and future risks. Participants also acknowledged that citizens need to take adaptation action along with the government and NGOs, and that they should be held accountable as well. In addition, in some cases, collaboration with municipalities seems to be difficult due to limited institutional capacity to work on bigger projects (e.g., climate risk management) that require long-term planning. Another challenge relates to different risk perceptions between stakeholders which may lead actors to not be fully aware of their vulnerabilities or responsibilities. ‘‘It is not only about technical solutions in flood risk management. We need fundamental changes in policies when dealing with climate risks’’, participants affirmed. With respect to the appropriate scale of adaptation measures, it was stressed that measures at the private building level should be mirrored with large–scale public measures. Moreover, investments should be made on larger scales (e.g., regions) and not only on the building level. For that, participants concluded that ‘‘we should connect with the investors, housing corporations, and building owners to scan their portfolios and to jointly discuss adaptation solutions. Sharing best practices helps us improve our understanding of and adaptability to climate risks’’.

Closing Session: It is Time To Take Action

The symposium was wrapped up with a recap on the whole day, and main takeaways from different sessions including each impact table discussion. ‘‘It is time to get to the actions’’,remarked Ellen van Bueren. She reflected on multiple initiatives, views, and actions that were proposed and formulated by the participants during the event. She concluded that there will be many promising interactions to come within the next year of the Red&Blue program.

Photo: Ineke Lammers

The session was closed by valuable feedback from the Red&Blue Advisory Committee members on the progress of the project, and some advice on the second-year agenda. ‘‘Red&Blue is a good example of a much-needed research program to promote solutions and actions against climate change’’, said by Winston Chow, Associate Professor of Urban Climate at the Singapore Management University, and newly elected Co-Chair of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Working Group II focuses on global insights on climate impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. ‘‘From a transdisciplinary point of view, this program is really great in terms of bringing different stakeholders together. It is very important to maintain community relationships, and to keep it strong. The results of this project will have many impacts in the future’’.

‘‘I am impressed with the Red&Blue first-year progress report, such a research community, and all the stakeholders onboard. The setup of the program will pay off in the coming years’’, said Eveline van Leeuwen, Professor in Urban Economics and Scientific Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions. She also reflected on the importance of taking into consideration different needs, expectations, and sense of urgency among partners, and advised the partners to “find joint solutions to cope with such differences’’.


The authors would like to thank the Red&Blue PhD researchers; Maria Fonseca; Richard Pompoes; Mats Lucia Bayer, and the moderators of the impact tables who helped us with this report by taking notes from the sessions of the event. We also would like to acknowledge the keynote speakers, panel members, and presenters in the symposium for their great contributions to the event.


Mehvar, A., Daamen, T. A., Taylor, Z., & van Bueren, E. (2023). Climate Change is for Real (Estate). Red&Blue Website.

Van Huizen, J., Jansen, E., & Mentink, N. (2023). The influence of climate risks on the Dutch real estate market.

Authors: Abdi Mehvar, Tom Daamen, Zac Taylor

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