BeBrit News 1: Awarded BCUS project 2023

Published on 13 May 2023 at 15:56

Each year, the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies funds several projects led by VUB research groups and researchers. Each of the awarded projects engages with the broad field of urban studies and with concepts linked to inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives on cities and ‘the urban’, comparative urbanism and engaged research connecting academia with other actors and networks. One of the winners of the 2023 edition is Silent Spring Consultants with the following project:


BeBrit - Extreme Heat Risk Knowledge and Innovation: Learning, Comparisons and Exchangeproject abstract

Extreme heat and drought are a major climate risk with potentially devastating impacts. The frequency and intensity of heatwaves is expected to increase and since 2000 this has been happening. The most recent, in the summer of 2022, when prolonged extreme heat was experienced in areas unaccustomed to it can serve as a warning, that unless we speed up the pace of adapting to heat then the consequences are dire. We understand some of the impacts of extreme heat – that cities are vulnerable because of Urban Heat Island Effect; that they cause direct and indirect impacts on human health, service provision, nature, economies and physical infrastructure and that age, gender, socio-economic factors and pre-existing medical conditions make some people more vulnerable to heatwaves. Many national and city governments have heat-health-alert systems and policies and guidance in place but there is little empirical work assessing their effectiveness. The periods during a heatwave and the weeks and months following it present an important opportunity to enhance long-term efforts to reduce heat risks. This project builds on and extends a UK study on decision-making responses to the 2022 heatwave that aimed to do just that. The BeBrit project involves three aims: learning (from case studies in Belgium and the UK and existing European and international case studies and examples); comparisons (between Belgium and the UK) and exchange (a co-created, collaborative event to share experiences and expertise).