Engaging Citizens in the City’s Climate Challenges

State of Green
By State of Green, October 17, 2018

Hedensted Municipality in mid-Jutland, Denmark is incorporating a new tool to make better decisions and to involve the citizens more in the municipality's climate adaptation projects.

With the new tool ‘3Di’, climate adaptation will soon become something for everyone to discuss – and engage in. NIRAS, an international, multidisciplinary engineering consultancy company, will advise Hedensted municipality, a municipality located in mid-Jutland in Denmark with around 46,000 inhabitants, in using the new programme, which makes complex patterns for flooding easier to understand.

The programme ‘3Di‘, which has been developed in the Netherlands, will enable more people to understand the climate challenges in Hedensted that come from four primary threats – increased precipitation, high groundwater and flooding from streams and rising seawater levels.

“Within just a few hundred metres, citizens can be exposed to several of these climate challenges. For example a low-lying summer cottage area, which risks floods from the ocean, from streams and from rain at the same time,” said Niels Rauff, Forest and Landscape Engineer in Hedensted Municipality.

When the different flood scenarios are presented in the 3Di tool, colours and simple animations show the movements of the water, the effect of different rainfall and the consequences, for example, if a dam breaks or a pump breaks.

3Di demonstration: This clip shows how a seawater riverfront propagates into the River Nene and floods an area south of Wisbech in eastern England. The white dots show the river and the water flowing upstream. As the pressure on the river increases from rising water levels, water begins to flow into residential areas and flood nearby fields.

Citizen-driven climate adaption
The communication of the impact of climate challenges is a specifically important instrument for ensuring that climate adaptation is not only something for experts in hydrology to understand.

With the 3Di tool we have been able to show some simple videos to the citizens that illustrate how the water first floods the beach, thereafter the summer cottage area and eventually it runs into the city itself, as the sea level rises. We have found that such a video really makes people realise that ‘this is something we have to deal with’. We will now use this tool to show more of the areas where flooding can be a problem – both in the city as well as in the countryside,” says Niels Rauff and continued:

Our ambition is that citizens of Hedensted should have the option to take responsibility and involve themselves in the local challenges – this also includes climate changes.  We hope that citizens will create new communities to help solve the challenges. The new tool facilitates that everyone can contribute“.

The best at visualisation
Currently, the Dutch suppliers of the 3Di program are putting the final touches on the tool to show the local water challenges in Hedensted Municipality. By the end of the year, NIRAS will conduct a series of workshops where citizens and municipal climate planners together will discuss challenges and solutions by using the 3Di tool.

In a climate adaptation project, we often find that it challenging to engage in a constructive dialogue with the different municipal parties when it comes to the technical analysis. With this tool, the technical insight is not necessary in order to make the important decisions,” says senior project advisor in NIRAS Esben Ravn Iversen and continued.

In comparison to the other tools we normally use, 3Di has the same ‘engine’ to calculate flood scenarios. The special thing about 3Di is that it has an astonishing module for presenting the analysis. In this way, landscape architects, city planners, politicians, landowners and ordinary citizens can also contribute and understand the climate challenges,” he says.

Source: Niras (in Danish)

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