Climate resilient cities: An integrated planning and designing approach

’Date: July 18- 21, 2023

The Sustainable habitat team of CSE conducted a training by the name of ‘Climate resilient cities: An integrated planning and designing approach’ from 18th to 21st of July 2023 at AAETI. It was attended by close to 30 participants mainly comprising of academicians and government officials representing state urban directorates, municipalities and other departments.

Mr. Rajneesh Sareen kicked off the training by explaining the participants about the big threat of climate change and the adverse effects it is bound to have on cities. Ms. Mitashi followed this up by introducing several initiatives taken by India involving cities to combat climate change. She presented the key features of India's Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy as well as initiatives such as national solar mission and concluded the session with several opportunities to bend the growth trajectory towards climate-sensitive development. The next session by Mr. Sugeet Grover, Dr. Nimish Gupta and Ms. Mitashi Singh combinedly captured the drivers of heat gains, reductions, sources and sinks in an urban area. The session also covered a range of tools and datasets for evaluating each driver's intensity. The last session of the day was taken up by Dr. Girish Agrawal who introduced the audience to a case study of Delhi on the urban heat island effect. The study divided Delhi into multiple local climatic zones and showed how the morphology, form and cover have affected UHI in the city. 

Mr. Rajneesh Sareen began day 2 by making the audience aware on vulnerability assessment and how it can be evaluated in different contexts. He detailed the indicators connected with many sectors (forest, agriculture, and habitat, among others) and expanded on vulnerability quantification. This was followed by Dr. Nimish Gupta introducing the participants to the Potential of Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) for urban climate studies. The session comprised an introduction and hands-on session for deriving urban heat centres over cities and detailing the method to capture various drivers of heat. Thereafter, Ms. Mitashi Singh presented the findings of CSE’s case study conducted on-site in Kolkata, which detailed how various drivers in tandem play a significant role in urban heat gains. Post lunch, Mr. Sugeet introduced participants to various district, non-refrigerant based and renewable cooling technologies being applied in the country. CSE has conducted case studies of such systems across India captured in ‘the cooling web’ which were presented to participants. In the next session by Ms. Gargi Dwivedi, she explained how different mitigation strategies such as green roofs, cool roofs, and material alterations, among others, could contribute to lowering the total land surface temperature at the neighbourhood and building levels. Mr. Kaifee Jawed presented the last session of the day, his session on Bio CNG, delved into conversations about the potential for generating Bio-CNG from biodegradable waste. He also covered the scientific principles underpinning biogas production, technological aspects involved in both biogas generation and enhancement, the pivotal role of existing policies and financial assistance in promoting its adoption, as well as the challenges currently encountered by operational plants in India.

Green infrastructure and landscaping is bound to play a crucial role in mitigating effects of extreme weather events. In order to physically demonstrate these features, the participants were taken for a walking tour of AAETI in order to demonstrate its green features with special emphasis on the rooftop solar plant in the campus. This was followed up by Ms. Maitreyi Karthik’s session who talked about the importance of Rooftop Solar PV (RTS PV) in India’s energy transition scenario. The session highlighted the current potential and the growth of renewable energy in the country, the need for RTS PV as a clean source of energy, and the various policies, subsidies, and incentives provided by the government for its uptake, the benefits and the challenges faced during the deployment of RTS PV amongst other associated topics. 

In the consecutive session Mr. Rohit Garg presented the status of electric vehicles in India, outlined the policies at national and state levels, regional variations, technical and safety aspects of EVs and case studies of some specific cities. Post lunchan introduction to group exercise was provided to capture the drivers of micro-climatic alterations in urban areas. The participants were divided into groups and were allocated with particular sites in Tijara city and its vicinity. The final session of the day was a group exercise to capture the drivers of micro-climatic variations on the ground. The participants were taken to Tijara city and its nearby locations for collecting in-situ data.

On the last day, Mr. Sugeet Grover’s session on ‘wisdom to build’ demonstrated evidence of climate change being a key reason for the change in construction materials and technologies across Odisha and West Bengal, which has resulted in thermal discomfort. It provided a deeper insight into how these technologies can be adapted to mitigate the negative implications of climate change. The training concluded with the participants presenting their findings and inferences based on the in-situ data collected, and the knowledge gained during the entirety of the course.

The final presentations by the participants resulted in a healthy debate and discussions on how various drivers can alter the micro-climatic condition of cities.