Thursday, March 31, 2011

Community Design Resources





Back issues of our monthly Livable Places Update, a report of progress made by local
Archived issues of the Leadership for Healthy Communities: San Joaquin Valley Update. A newsletter for local policy-makers that includes discussion on active living & healthy eating policies.



Speaker presentations given at workshops, conferences, or meetings.


How Big Can Cities Get? A look at the ecocities of the future

By Alex Aylett

Sometimes we spend so much time looking at the challenges that cities face today, that we forget to look forward into the future and imagine what cities could be.

This week What Matters, is running a series of interesting thought pieces under the banner "How Big Can Cities Get?" Contributors include Richard Register, founder of Ecocity Builders; Dr. Dickson Despommier, from Columbia University and president of the Vertical Farm Project; and Stewart Brand, co-founder of The Long Now Foundation. Not all of their ideas will be entirely new - we've all heard about "global cities" for example - but extrapolated 50 years into the future even old ideas open up interesting questions. Some of the best moments in these essays are the glimpses they provide of how cities could become - not just "less bad" - but truly positive forces both socially and ecologically. [An idea that I explore in my earlier entry on The Living City Challenge.] I've posted a few of my favourite excerpts after the jump. 

By Richard Register

Today’s cities have dense urban centers ringed by ever-expanding, car-dependent, undifferentiated miles of inefficient urban and suburban sprawl. This structure is environmentally unsustainable and not conducive to pleasurable human activity. We need to break up that sprawl into a galaxy of cities, towns, and villages. Doing so would free up vast swaths of land for parks, agriculture, and wildlife, all of which would be easily accessible to people without having to resort to long, slow, polluting car rides. 
Welcome to healthy shrinking cities. We in America may be at the turning point in that wave of urban sprawl that began to engulf the countryside after the Second World War, powered by US government policies including subsidized single-family housing, massive highway-building and very cheap gasoline. Over the following decades, cities sloshed ever outward, in California for example, right up against the Sierra Foothills. 

A city that is designed around the dimensions of the human body [rather than those of the private automobile] and its need for clean air and water as well as healthy food holds tremendous potential to improve the lives of its citizens as well as the health of the planet. Most environmentalists believe the best we can do with cities is to make them less damaging. In fact, well-designed cities could be net contributors to soil building and biodiversity, making them a benefit to people and nature simultaneously. 

By Dickson Despommier

What is needed, in my opinion, is a radical change in urban philosophy; one that is based on natural processes and mimics the best that nature has to offer with respect to balance. The balanced ecosystem is often referred to as a “closed loop” entity: everything the system needs to thrive—water, food, energy, et cetera—already exists within it (rather than being trucked in!) and is constantly recycled. I would encourage all city planners and developers to take a long, hard look into the ways in which ecosystems behave. It is the model for how we should be handling things like water management, energy utilization, and the recycling of waste into usable resources.

In an ecosystem, assemblages of plants and animals are linked together by a common thread: the sharing of nutrients, the transfer of energy from sunlight to plants and then to animals, and the recycling of all the elements needed to ensure the survival of the next generation of those living within the boundaries of that geographically defined area. With available technologies, we can now bio-mimic an ecosystem’s best features. If cities learned to take advantage of these new technologies, then we would be well on our way to sustainability into the next millennium.

By Robert Neuwirth

Most of the urban centers in these fast growing meta-cities have one very visible trait in common. Each is ringed by dense, ever-expanding squatter communities where large portions of the city’s population—and economy—reside. Squatter communities and shantytowns are now home to 800 million people and are projected to grow by 16,000 people every day for the foreseeable future.
Is this a vision of a planet gone haywire, of cities grown so big that they cross over to the dark side? What will the quality of life be like in these high-density, low-infrastructure environments? How will these increasingly dense and unnatural cities allocate resources, define development, or manage the environment? How big can they grow?

To answer these questions, it’s important to understand that it’s not size, density, or material conditions that are the true issue. The future will be determined by the extent to which these massive agglomerations take the idea of democracy seriously. Squatter cities and informal markets will represent an increasing portion of the population and the economy. It will simply not be possible to ignore them as in the past.

As S’bu Zikode, leader of the courageous South African squatter organizing group Abahlali baseMjondolo put it in a recent speech: “One cannot begin any meaningful discussion of the urban crisis while the poor continue to be excluded form the conversations that are meant to build the very new urban order that is for all. This discussion can only begin once the dispossessed, those who do not count, count.” In a DIY environment, the urban future calls for deep democracy. Only then will the slipknot issues of development, land, and the environment be confronted with diligence, justice, and equity.

Sustainable Educational Resources

Educational Resources

Last modified 2010-08-10 16:50
All Educational Resources are copyrighted and may be used for educational purposes without a fee unless so noted.

I.  Curriculum

  • The Web Book of Regional Science, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University: Key Concepts in Sustainable Development by Grunkemeyer and Moss (copyright belongs with RRI)
  • Sustainable Comp Planning goes beyond traditional comp planning in the following ways:
      • It is based on an inclusionary, shared community vision
      • It thinks long-term to future generations
      • It balances and interconnects the social, environmental and economic sectors of the community
      • It uses multi-dimensional indicators to measure success
               Characteristics of a Sustainable Comp Plan
  • Sustainable Communities In-Service

II.  Conference/Community Presentations

Video Presentation

PowerPoint Presentations




Microsoft PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer 2007 is needed to view presentations. The viewer can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.

III.  Sustainable Communities In-Service

The following steps can be used in a community to facilitate a sustainable community building process. These steps and process are designed as a general guide and can be modified as needed to address the unique needs of a particular community or situation.

Sustainable Communities In-Service Page

Last modified 2008-08-05 10:36
Welcome to the Sustainable Communities Inservice. We are happy that you can join in this discussion of:
What is Sustainable Development?
How can we build Sustainable Communities?
The purpose of this section is to provide a common understanding among the Inservice participants regarding the above two questions. We hope this goal is accomplished through three activities:
  1. sharing a common tutorial regarding Sustainable Communities
  2. sharing our individual reactions and thoughts to the topics presented in the tutorial
  3. individually providing additional web reference materials for greater depth of understanding
The following tutorial is designed as a beginning discussion piece for the participants of this In-service. This tutorial was designed in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency through the CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES, Cascadia Community and Environment Institute, University of Washington. Contained in the tutorial are nine sessions:

What Attaches People to Their Communities?

Soul of the Community

Discover the soul of your community

Great schools, affordable health care and safe streets all help create strong communities. But is there something deeper that draws people to a city – that makes them want to put down roots and build a life?

What makes a community a desirable place to live? What draws people to stake their future in it? Are communities with more attached residents better off?

Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Knight Soul of the Community project in 2008 with these questions in mind. After interviewing close to 43,000 people in 26 communities over three years, the study has found that three main qualities attach people to place: social offerings, such as entertainment venues and places to meet, openness (how welcoming a place is) and the area’s aesthetics (its physical beauty and green spaces).

We’ve seen now why attachment is an important metric for communities, since it links to key outcomes like local economic growth (GDP). So, the next obvious question is: what drives attachment? After three years of research, the results have been very consistent, and possibly surprising.

First, what attaches residents to their communities doesn’t change much from place to place. While we might expect that the drivers of attachment would be different in Miami, Fla., from those in Macon, Ga., in fact, the main drivers of attachment show little difference across communities. In addition, the same drivers have risen to the top in every year of the study.

Second, these main drivers may be surprising. While the economy is obviously the subject of much attention, the study has found that perceptions of the local economy do not have a very strong relationship to resident attachment. Instead, attachment is most closely related to how accepting a community is of diversity, its wealth of social offerings, and its aesthetics. This is not to say that jobs and housing aren’t important. Residents must be able to meet their basic needs in a community in order to stay. However, when it comes to forming an emotional connection with the community, there are other community factors which often are not considered when thinking about economic development. These community factors seem to matter more when it comes to attaching residents to their community.

And finally, while we do see differences in attachment among different demographic groups, demographics generally are not the strongest drivers of attachment. In almost every community, we found that a resident’s perceptions of the community are more strongly linked to their level of community attachment than to that person’s age, ethnicity, work status, etc.

Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post-Carbon World

“Should I drive to get that loaf of bread, or can I walk? That decision amplified and repeated by many millions results in impossibly overloaded freeways and ridiculously expensive and unsustainable patterns of movement.”

How can North American cities be designed to reduce carbon emissions? The answer, according to architecture professor Patrick Condon, lies in the past, 1880 to 1945 to be specific. That’s when multiple North American cities were designed as streetcar cities that were “walkable, transit accessible, and virtually pollution-free while still dramatically extending the distance citizens could cover during the day.” Minneapolis, Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver were classic examples of this design, built on a grid with commercial/residential corridors along the streetcar lines. This approach to urban design was eclipsed by low-density, car-dependent suburban development following World War II.

Condon champions argues for a return to this bygone model of urban design. Although this book presents seven rules, rules two through six are arguably subsumed under the first one: restore the streetcar city. Even if the streetcars are gone and the tracks torn up, the bones of this earlier design are still there and should be used, he contends, to retrofit and rehab former streetcar cities. His vision is that planners in such cities will invest in zero-carbon trolley buses and modern tram systems (using lighter, less expensive European technology) to recreate high-density, transit-accessible, more environmentally-friendly corridors. Vancouver has done it. Portland, Oregon has done it too.

Living carfree is not expressly presented as a viable option or end goal. Listen to how he writes about living without a car: “Residents who live near Broadway [an east-west corridor in Vancouver] can survive without a car. Many of the residents along the corridor are students at UBC….” He leaves the impression that living without a car is something college kids do (where are the carfree working adults and families?) and his word choice (“can survive”) is hardly a ringing endorsement for a carfree lifestyle. He seems to be more in line with the idea of owning a car, but using it less.

I like that Condon dismisses electric, hydrogen and ethanol cars as a cure-all. I like that he wants to recycle and reuse design features that worked in the past when thinking about designing for the future. I appreciate the maps and the aerial, historic and contemporary photographs throughout the book. As a social scientist, I was intrigued by the perspective that human behavior can be changed by urban design alone. If a convenience store, café or transit stop is located within a five minute walk, he states, people will walk there. “Most people think that walking five minutes is easier than firing up the car, pulling it out of a parking space, negotiating streets, finding a place to park, and exiting from the auto driver’s crouch.” He is writing from Vancouver, “North America’s most successful example of center city densification.” I’m writing from Phoenix, the poster child for car-centered design with mile-long blocks and low public transit use. If more corner stores were built in cities like Phoenix, would car owners really start walking to them? He does say that any design-inspired shift to transit, walking and biking would be “gradual.” However, I think walkable design will need to be paired with the economic kick of ten-dollar-a-gallon gas before Phoenix residents leave their cars at home.

Condon admits up front that his seven rules are not original. What he’s trying to create is a “credible framework for action.” His salvage plan is really only applicable to former streetcar cities, though he says forty percent of US and Canadian urban residents currently live in areas with a streetcar past. Still, this book could serve as a good primer for students and other newcomers to urban development as it carefully and clearly discusses the issues raised by each of the seven rules. In fact, this book is required for students in the Sustainable Community Development certificate program at Simon Fraser University. As for me here in Phoenix, I’ll keep waiting for gas prices to soar and dreaming of moving to Portland, Oregon.

The Seven Rules

Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post-Carbon World
Patrick M. Condon
Island Press, 2010, 200 pages.

Car Free Future

Park Avenue (looking north at 19th Street, August 2010), offers a glimpse of what New York City's future could look like. During the city's Summer Streets Program, Park Avenue is car-free for 3 days in August, giving pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters full access to the street. Begun in the Summer of 2008, it attracts more participants year after year - © Jeff Prant
Park Avenue (looking north at 19th Street, August 2010), offers a glimpse of what New York City's future could look like. During the city's Summer Streets Program, Park Avenue is car-free for 3 days in August, giving pedestrians, cyclists, and skaters full access to the street. Begun in the Summer of 2008, it attracts more participants year after year - © Jeff Prant

A Paradigm for Susainability

We talk about sustainable development, sustainable communities, cities that live, and such things, but what do we really know about creating a culture whose practices and predilections don't overdraw the fund of resources the earth can generate and hold for us? Is it enough to recycle the daily newspaper and ride your bike to the video store once a week, as those clever columns in alternative newspapers suggest in their lists of ten things you can do for the environment? How do we determine whether the things we do and the culture we partake of are sustainable? The Brundtland Commission promotes the following as their definition of sustainability:

"Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

But this doesn't really say anything. After all, a cash-sated Hollywood lawyer in his Beverly Hills mansion might define "needs" in a way that would not be acceptable to a dreadlocked bicycle messenger buzzing through a Seattle drizzle, both of whom would be at odds with the steelworker loading twelve- packs into his boat at the dam on a Sunday afternoon. And all of their interpretations of "needs" would puzzle a Japanese salaryman, or a rainforest peon sweating under the sunglassed gaze of some Western CEO's hired thugs.

I propose a different, more technical definition of sustainability, one that can be quantified and that is not subject to reinterpretation according to cultural habitudes, and it is this:

"A sustainable community is one whose energy economy does not use more energy in a given time than falls on its hinterlands as sunlight in that time, and in which the material economy is circular rather than linear."

Note that this definition makes no mention of a cash economy. Commerce will have to submit to the requirements of survival, regardless of its practitioners' opinions. But there are features to a sustainable culture that will benefit most participants in its cash economy as well, and we will look at these later.

First Things First

A sustainable economy cannot depend on fossil fuels. It cannot use them at all and be sustainable. The reasons for this are simple.

First, except for a modest amount of heat generated inside the earth itself and not readily available to us, and except for the rare and highly poisonous radioactive elements, we have no source of energy except the sun. The fossil fuels upon which we have based our entire industrial culture are nothing more than accumulations of solar energy--accumulations that have been hundreds of millions of years in the gathering. Once we have used them up--which at present rates of use will be in about fifty years--we will have to wait another several hundred million years before we have more. Since humans have been on the earth considerably less than two million years, it is obvious that, though fossil fuels are renewable in the very long term, they cannot be considered so for use by human cultures. Human cultures that depend on fossil fuels will die out within our children's lifetimes, and possibly within our own.

Second, the use of fossil fuels is destroying the capacity of the earth to sustain life, and the capability of culture to make life worth sustaining. Urban and suburban sprawl, and all the ills that run howling in their wake--smog, poisoned water, paving of farmlands and wildlands, wholesale destruction of genetic diversity, petrochemical agriculture, the replacement of rainforest with cash crops (including those which provide the anodyne drugs that plague Western cities), the dissection of neighborhoods for roads and shopping malls, the pervading anomie of citizens dissociated from the earth that bore them--are facilitated by, and often dependent on, fossil-carbon fueled transport and fossil-carbon derived chemicals, and all this, the little that is good as well as the much that is detrimental, will have to end if we as residents of this planet are to survive.

A sustainable economy cannot continue to throw away resources such as paper, iron, aluminum, glass, plant waste, and sewage, burying them in once-living canyons or dumping them into the seas after having wrested them from the earth at great cost in energy and lost land. Beer cans must be remade into bicycles and railcars, old newspapers into books and envelopes, lawn clippings into mulch, sewage into fertilizer. Even plastics, which can be made from plant matter but cannot be recycled as such, can be reformed into new and durable objects, perhaps even building bricks! And buildings themselves, as the work of architects such as Nader Khalili has shown, need not be made of trees or steel, but can be formed, safely and beautifully, out of the earth of their own excavations.

We can change now, with great effort and inconvenience, to a way of life we will find far more rewarding once we become accustomed to it--or we can change later, wrenched by circumstances through a torment of starvation and vicious chaos towards a new world which will only gradually heal itself of the devastations we will have made inevitable.

New Worlds Next Door

What the new paradigm will tell us is what sort of community we can build on any particular landscape, if we want that community to be truly sustainable. Almost all communities in existence now depend on fossil-carbon energy for their continuance. The communities of the future will depend on solar energy for their sustenance. And it will not be as difficult as it seems, because there is much more to solar energy than photovoltaics and rooftop water-heaters. Hydroelectric energy is solar, too, because it's the sun's heat that has lifted up the water into the hills. Methane, methanol, and ethanol derived from composting plant scraps is solar, because plants very efficiently capture solar energy to use for building their tissues. Human and animal muscle power, derived as it is directly (if we are to be kind as well as efficient) from plants, is also solar energy. Wind-generated electricity is also solar. All of these energy sources are either inherent to a region (wind, water), or can be grown within a region. The population of a given region is determined by water, wind, and how well the plants of that region can collect energy from the sun.

As the population of a region grows, land for planting becomes converted to land for buildings and roads. There comes a point at which resources must then be brought from outside the populated area of the region in order to feed and power the population. That transport requires energy. Once the energy required to grow and transport food and resources becomes greater than can be generated by wind, water, and biomass in the region, the region has passed the limits of sustainability. It can continue to grow only at the expense of another region's resources. You can power trains with electricity, you can fuel trucks with electricity or alcohol, and you can fuel people (for human-powered transport for shorter hauls) with plant carbohydrates. All this energy must be derived from wind, water, and plant resources within the region in question.

Let us look at a just the most obvious examples of how this could be brought about:

One thing we can do is bring farmland closer to the cities. The closer farmland exists to urban agglomerations, the denser those agglomerations may be, as less energy will then be required to transport food to mouths. If farmland is scattered within cities, then a simple walk or bicycle trip is sufficient to bring fresh food home, and the citizens have green spaces in which to relax from the pressures of community while they purchase their dinners. Urban areas interspersed with farmland (or is it vice- versa?) provide an excellent balance between an invigorating population density and a sustainable (and pleasurable) landscape.

Another is to localize the production of electrical energy. Power losses in electrical transmission from distant generators are generally very large--about seven percent. Solar panels on every roof would generate a great deal of electricity only inches from where it would be used. Hydroelectric could usually fulfill the rest of the demand. In many places, this would include numerous micro-hydroelectric units on local streams. However, if a region builds a large dam for hydroelectric power, that dam might not raise the water level behind it so high that a neighboring region could not let its share of the river fall the full equivalent of its drop from one end of the region to the other, which would produce the maximum of power for that region from within its borders; a reservoir that extended into another region would also deprive that region of use of the land covered by the water.

A very important change we can bring about is to recognize the dignity of moving ourselves under our own power. Motorized transport is grossly inefficient, and is prevalent only because of the windfall of fossil-carbon fuels. But personal transport vehicles use many more calories to move the engine and vehicle than to move the passengers--a problem inherent to electric- and alcohol-fueled, as well as fossil- carbon fueled, vehicles. If people transport themselves primarily by walking and bicycling, and their goods--as far as is practical--by bicycle trailer and pedicab, there will be more food and fuel to accommodate a larger population in the region. (Human powered transport, though slow, is much more efficient in its use of calories than motorized transport.) In the transport of goods, or of large groups of persons, trains are four times as efficient as trucks, because proportionately more of their energy is used to transport the goods than the vehicle itself. (Aircraft, on the other hand, are the most inefficient of all.) In a sustainable economy, only trains will operate at a tolerable cost for long-distance overland hauling, and will be a premium service at that, with their energy expenses pro-rated among the regions they serve and subtracted from their energy budgets. Water transport could be supplied by electric or hybrid sail and electric boats, which have already been used on the open seas.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

The first criticism you will hear (or perhaps make) about these suggestions is that they are labor intensive, and will increase the cost of transportation. After all, a sailing ship cannot be as large as a supertanker (not that you'll need supertankers in this economy), and it requires proportionately more crew per unit of cargo than a fossil-carbon fueled steamship. So it will indeed cost more to ship something to Australia from France than it does now. But that price will reflect the true cost of shipping, because we are currently subsidizing almost all transport with the legacy of the past in form of fossil-carbon fuels. It really costs much more to transport goods than we notice, because it is our current practice to fob off part of the cost on the environment in the form of pollution and waste from the use of fossil-carbon fuels, and to fob off much more onto our grandchildren, who will have to suffer the consequences of our present dependence on the windfall of compressed Mesozoic forests. So we will not ship as much, and it will cost us more. And the capitalists will suffer, because where will the bulk of that extra money go, the premium we will pay for hauling goods and passengers without the help of those long-dead forests? It will not, as it presently is, be sucked upward into the pockets of administrative staff and investors. It will go to ourselves and our neighbors, who will be operating those boats, pedaling those trailer-hauling bicycles, stirring bacteria in the methanol stills, and tending the generator by the neighborhood stream. Ourselves, our neighbors--and our customers. More people working means more people spending. This change will be better for the economy, if in "economy" you include all the population of a region, and not just investors.

What About Wilderness?

What about wilderness, then? We can cover the earth with human habitat, be it farms or cities, without transgressing these principles--perhaps. But if we do so, even with a more localized agriculture that no longer depends on petrochemical monoculture and its tractor-graded ranks of obedient fruit, its gallons of coercive poisons, we still will have limited the genetic diversity of life on this earth too much. People oversimplify. Contrary to popular belief, the life of a primitive human is not simple: where the tribesman must know hundreds of plants and animals and the techniques for finding, acquiring, and using them. The average modern, however, need only be able to read streetsigns and the labels on tin cans, because knowledge has been reduced to symbols whose validity we entrust to the kindness of strangers. Nature is abundance, though often subtle abundance; humanity tends towards the simple lines of such sterile environments as freeway lanes, row crops, the rigid formats of television, the well-ordered warrens of cubicles in offices (whose inmates qualify the signs and symbols assigned to their care in accordance to their training). No matter how meticulous we are in establishing a sustainable culture, a certain portion of the earth must be reserved for wildness, where the subtle factories of futurity can do their work, unnoticed by a species which is ever amazed to learn anew that insects outweigh mammals as a mass of life on our earth.

It's In Our Hands

The tools to understand this life are in our hands. The coefficients necessary to make the determinations mentioned above are generally known: how much sunlight falls on the earth in what seasons at what latitudes, how well plants convert it into calories, how well we can convert those calories into motion either directly or through machines. It would be possible, though perhaps not simple, to write computer programs that would allow people working on the ground to calculate what sort of civic life one could build in any given area and be able to continue it indefinitely--or to determine what must be unbuilt to make sustainability possible. The problem is not one of technique. It is one of honesty, courage, and will. Can we see it through? Can we even begin? It is up to you and me to answer those questions.

We have used industrial technology to reduce the world to a few simple terms that are easy to know, and we have abstracted most of that into money, a symbol of a symbol, which we use as the only measure of worth. The result is now a dirty, dying world and an atrophy of our minds and souls. You can print more money but you can't print sunlight; if you are rich you can buy a painting by Monet but you can't buy back the genetic poetry of vanished lives. Living within a solar budget will require us to attend to the details of life once more. Walking five blocks to a farmer's market will remind us what that spinach, redolent of dark clean earth, will be remade into by our cells--and will remind us that that earth once passed through our own bodies, or others like them, and that we ourselves will be remade into earth, in due time; and if we must dim the lights that now turn the night skies of our cities into an untextured yellow smear, we'll gain by that a crowded universe of stars shining down together into each back yard, each streetcorner, each public square. Life will be busier but less hurried, and if there will be more to pay attention to, it will be because everything we touch and do, from bathing to breakfast to coming home from work, will carry resonances of a planetary process that, immense though it is, takes place in the unseen cells that form us and our fellows on the earth.

Right now we are living as inmates of industrialism, our lives constrained by hard concrete and rigid thinking; we live encelled in rooms, cars, cubicles, rushing from one to another in nervous orderly rows, and like prisoners we spend our evenings slouched forlornly in front of television sets. The walls that keep us from a free full life are sometimes actual but more often habitual. There's still a whole world out there. We have the chance right now to take the better parts of technology and philosophy and build a civilization that lives within its means. The means to that accomplishment are within ourselves: eyes to see, heart to care, mind to comprehend. And hands to build with. Once we've built a sustainable culture, we'll have a place in the world again, and the world a place in us.

Richard Risemberg

Free Online Conference - Klima 2011

Welcome to CLIMATE 2011 / KLIMA 2011

The World´s CO2-friendly Scientific On-line Climate Conference

"Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management"

7-12 November 2011

Let the conference introduce you to the latest scientific findings on the social, economic and political aspects of climate change. Enter this platform on 7-12 November 2011 and read about new projects and innovative initiatives being undertaken in both industrialised and developing countries by universities and scientific institutions, government bodies, NGOs and other stakeholders.\

Delegates will find in the e-conference a unique opportunity to look at climate change issues not only under a scientific perspective but also in connection with disaster management in a way not yet seen elsewhere – interactive, across disciplines and 100 % virtual. To allow users from all over the world to access this extraordinary knowledge pool and avoiding travel costs and CO2emissions – often a major barrier for participants from the developing world –, participation is free of charge.
CLIMATE 2011/KLIMA 2011’s aims are the following:
  • Introduce latest findings from scientific research on climate variation, climate change and its links with disaster risk management;
  • Showcase projects and other initiatives in this field being undertaken in both industrialized and developing countries, by universities and scientific institutions, government bodies, national and international agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders;
  • Discuss current challenges, identify opportunities and highlight the un-seized potential related to promoting a better understanding of the connections between climate variation, climate change and disaster risk management, worldwide.
Last but not least, and similar to the previous on-line conferences in 2008, 2009 and 2010, CLIMATE 2011/KLIMA 2011 allows its participants to network with just a few mouse-clicks, thus catalyzing knowledge transfer and new cooperation across the globe.