Category Archives: Blog Marianne Heselmans

Blog Marianne Heselmans

Climate app leads the way in tackling environmental disasters

30 June 2014. If you want to stimulate discussions about technological advancements, you can consider to use an app. But you still need experts. That is what I have learnt last two months.
On 15 May, Shell organised a conference entitled Urban resilience in Rotterdam (see our conference report).

Metropolitan areas are increasingly confronted with floods, droughts, extreme heat or hurricanes due to climate change. The conference’s theme was how to achieve more resilience to these disasters. Many solutions were put forward. From using ICT to building dikes, from flood awareness campaigns to planting trees. But which solutions are best in a specific situation?

At the Shell conference, Swiss Re demonstrated its new decision tool (see the report). But a more simple-to-use tool has hit the market last month. Five organisations including Deltares, Grontmij and Witteveen+Bos have developed a handy ‘climate-app’. If you add the problem, such as extreme heat, and provide  details about local situation, such as urban redevelopment and soil type ‘sand’,  the app will provide up to 45 technical solutions and rank them according to effectiveness in combating the heat.  And all within 1 second! From improved sewer systems to ditches, from porous pavements to green or cool reflective roofs. At every solution, you can click for more information including pictures.

This climate-app has seemed especially suitable for training courses and workshops in the tested cities (Ho Chi Min City, Copenhagen and New Orleans), according to the newsrelease. City managers, policymakers, engineers and interest groups could discuss the technical solutions using this app on their mobile phones. Green roofs, the size of the eaves (overhang), blinds; without the app they could easily have missed these options.
Of course, the climate app doesn’t help to answer questions such as: Who is going to pay? How can we decide democratically? And how can we guarantee that all inhabitants benefit from the renovation? For these discussions, cities need good leaders with a clear vision. And that was precisely one of the main conclusions from the Shell conference.