We enable regions and cities to jointly tackle challenges that go beyond borders
Water pollution, maritime spatial planning, integration of transport systems are examples of issues that each country cannot solve separately from its neighbours. Only by working together regions and cities can successfully tackle such challenges.
Urban heat islands are a new type of microclimatic phenomenon that causes a significant increase in the temperature of cities as compared to surrounding areas - in particular those distant to coast lines. The phenomenon is caused when paved surfaces greatly outnumber the green areas in a city. Buildings and roads absorb the heat produced during the day and then release it, like giant heaters. As a result there is often big difference in the temperature between a city and its surrounding areas. Urban heat islands produce multiple negative effects in a city: They can increase energy consumption for cooling homes, offices and shopping centres, and cause more frequent episodes of blackouts, due to the excessive demands for electricity. But even more serious are the effects that the higher temperatures have on the health of citizens. Although experts consider this an urgent EU public health concern, there are still too few policies to address it.
The UHI project encouraged a transnational discussion of urban heat islands, as well as efforts to measure and address the problem. UHI encouraged cooperation between climatologists and urban planners in an effort to make our cities healthier places to live. Along with raising awareness, the project also supported efforts to monitor urban heat islands, conducted pilots aimed at mitigation, and promoted longer-term policy solutions. The pilots were carried out in eight metropolitan areas: Bologna/Modena, Budapest, Ljubljana, Lodz, Prague, Stuttgart, Venezia/Padova, and Vienna. The plans developed by the pilots are being integrated into the national and regional programmes for urban and land planning. They also contribute to the application of an integrated decision support system, where a systematic diagnosis of climate change-related problems foster solutions that are encouraged by policymakers in an effort to elaborate long-term and effective programmes for the development of the urban areas.
Air Tritia Project
At the same time, air pollution is a specific environmental and health risk in central Europe, and with its cross-boundary overrun it cannot be effectively managed only at the national or regional level. AIR TRITIA aims to increase air quality management capacities of public sector bodies in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland through the development of a unified spatial information database, introducing new management and pollution prediction tools and air quality strategies. The joint cooperation approach to air quality management at the level of functional urban areas will be based on detailed mathematical modelling and verification of various types of measurements with the use of supercomputers. The project will also define options for transmitting information within different territories, define measures for the reduction of emissions and elaborate legislative proposals for a more efficient implementation of an integrated strategy for air quality management at the territorial level.
It’s not an uncommon situation that a lynx would be born for example in the Czech part of the population in the national park Šumava, then it would migrate to Austria, for example to the Freiwald area and end up in a Bavarian site where it would stay and reproduce. The border-crossing Eurasian lynx is a highly endangered species, protected under national laws and the EU Habitat Directive. The main threats for lynx survival are illegal killing due to lack of acceptance by key stakeholders and habitat fragmentation hindering migration. In addition, non-harmonised, national monitoring and management hamper a coordinated approach. The challenge is to integrate lynx monitoring, conservation and management into a common strategy on transnational level.
The 3Lynx project will do so by improving lynx conservation capacities of responsible stakeholders through experience, data and tool sharing and by implementing a harmonised lynx monitoring at population level. The project will also be an instrument to achieve active involvement of key stakeholders, namely hunters and foresters, into lynx conservation issues. For monitoring Lynx, the project uses camera traps with automatic triggers that are triggered by the movement of the animals. The lynx then takes a picture of itself just by going around. It’s like a selfie. If the photo is of a good quality, the project can tell the individual by its colouring, by the types and number of spots. This way, the project can also provide concrete stories about specific lynx, such as Jiskra in the Czech Republic: http://www.interreg-central.eu/Content.Node/jiskra.htmlREAD MORE STORIES