"CITY 2020+": assessing climate change impacts for the city of Aachen related to demographic change and health – a progress report
The research initiative CITY 2020+ assesses the risks and opportunities for residents in urban built environments under projected demographic and climate change for the year 2020 and beyond, using the city of Aachen as a case study. CITY 2020+ develops strategies, options and tools for planning and developing sustainable future city structures. The investigation focuses on how urban environment, political structure and residential behaviour can best be adapted, with attention to the interactions among structural, political, and sociological configurations and their impacts on human health. The interdisciplinary research is organized in three clusters. Within the first cluster, strategies of older people exposed to heat stress, and their networks as well as environmental health risks according to atmospheric conditions are examined. The second cluster addresses governance questions, urban planning and building technologies as well as spatial patterns of the urban heat island. The third cluster includes studies on air quality related to particulate matter and a historical perspective of city development concerning environmental issues and climate variability. However, it turns out that research topics that require an interdisciplinary approach are best addressed not by pre-structuring the work into related sub-projects but through combining them according to shared methodological approaches. Examples illustrating this rather practical approach within ongoing research are presented in this paper.