Climate Adaptation

Urban green in times of climate change – students develop communication concepts for municipalities

ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research has worked together with the Hessian Centre for Climate Change (FZK) and students of the HPI School of Design Thinking (D-School) during a three-month project on the topic of “Urban Green Spaces in times of Climate Change”. The results of this semester project are now available.  

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Rechneigrabenweiher in Frankfurt am Main (© Branko Srot / Adobe Stock)
Rechneigrabenweiher in Frankfurt am Main (© Branko Srot / Adobe Stock)

Torrential rain, floods, heat waves and droughts pose major challenges for municipalities. Appropriate strategies for adapting to these effects of climate change are essential and the only way to limit its impact on the health and well-being of citizens, local infrastructure, the economy and, not least, the environment.

Green areas, parks and open spaces can be important contributions to adapting to the consequences of climate change. However, urban green and open spaces are increasingly endangered, especially in metropolitan areas. It is therefore important to use appropriate communication measures to make citizens and the business community aware of the great importance of urban green spaces in the context of adapting to the consequences of climate change. 

Against this background, ISOE, together with the FZK and students of the HPI School of Design Thinking, carried out a three-month project. The aim of this cooperation was to develop instruments that support municipalities in their dialogue with different target groups when communicating this topic. 

Approach and outcome

The students started off by collecting the different knowledge needs of the various actors involved at municipal level. As a next step, the results of the interviews were evaluated. Using the innovation method “Design Thinking”, two communication concepts were developed. Each of them describes web-based platforms that provide information on climate change adaptation in cities to various actors in different ways. One of the platforms is a “"Knowledge Hub” which enables multilateral communication via fast access to relevant information on the various measures of climate change adaptation in cities. The other platform supports cooperation between science and practice by facilitating a direct dialogue and thus building the (communication) bridge from scientists to users. Both platforms work with a networking function to combine and multiply scientific knowledge with best practice examples from municipalities.

Design Thinking in brief

Design Thinking describes a method that is intended to lead to the solution of problems and the development of new answers and ideas through innovative approaches. The main aim is to enable people from different disciplines to work together on a problem. This should take place in a creative environment and involves several, sometimes iterative process stages. 

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