Local Research Supports Edmonton in Planning for Climate Resiliency

A crane and skyscraper against a blue evening sky



Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and the City of Edmonton award nearly $150,000 to 2021 CitiesIPCC Legacy Research Grantees for local climate solutions.

Edmonton, November 29, 2021—Alberta Ecotrust Foundation and the City of Edmonton, announced the recipients of the 2021 CitiesIPCC Legacy Research Grants. Three research teams will receive nearly $150,000 in funding to pursue projects that will advance knowledge about local climate resilience solutions. 

The research, supported by the CitiesIPCC Legacy Research Grant Program, aligns with Edmonton’s long-term vision of transitioning to a low-carbon future and also contributes to the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science. Since 2019, the City of Edmonton and Alberta Ecotrust have partnered to support research on a variety of topics, from fire risk modelling to low-carbon urban freight solutions.

“As we advance our work to address climate challenges and risks, it is important that our decisions are science-based. Having a local, on-the-ground understanding of the best ways for Edmonton to adapt to and mitigate climate change is invaluable for the City of Edmonton,” said Amarjeet Sohi, mayor, City of Edmonton.

 “For three years, this grant program has advanced local knowledge on climate change and helped contribute to the goals in the City of Edmonton’s climate action plans. In its final year, the program is providing support to three unique projects that help Edmonton adapt and thrive in the face of a changing climate.” – Rod Ruff, vice president, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation.

In its final year, the research grant program is supporting the three following projects:

1. ClimateWest / ClimatOuest – From Abstract to Applied: Mobilizing Climate Research to Enhance Climate Resilience in Edmonton

ClimateWest, the new regional hub for climate services to support climate adaptation across the Prairie region, is working to advance climate change adaptation in Edmonton by increasing the uptake of recently developed climate projections in the work of frontline practitioners, like planners and engineers. This project will help reduce gaps by synthesizing current research to identify the most effective techniques for communicating, translating and mobilizing technical research for practitioner audiences; apply evidence-based techniques to inform the mobilization of recent results from climate modelling studies focused on the City of Edmonton and the North Saskatchewan River Basin; and assess the effectiveness of these mobilization techniques among the practitioners engaged in the project. 

2. University of Alberta, Faculty of Engineering –  Evacuations and Resilience Hubs: Preparing Edmonton for Extreme Events and Climate Change

Over the coming decades, Edmonton will experience an increase in the frequency, intensity, and size of hazards due to climate change. The Edmonton river valley and surrounding neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable to wildfires and flooding, requiring mitigation and adaptation strategies to protect infrastructure, property, and human life. This project aims to: 1) prepare Edmonton officials and residents to evacuate from both wildfires and flooding;  2) identify infrastructure, processes, and procedures for transporting evacuees via high-capacity transportation modes, and; 3) inform planning for resilience hubs that can act as shelters and resource centers for additional hazards including heat waves.

3. University of Alberta – Assessment of Wildfire-related Risks and Hazards for City of Edmonton Buildings and Infrastructure using Crowdsensing

There is an urgent need to develop new data-driven methods for monitoring and assessing wildfire-related risks and hazards in the major urban areas, like Edmonton. These data are needed for modeling and forecasting systems that aim to protect the built environments and critical infrastructure. This research will develop a framework for assessing wildfire-related risks on urban infrastructure and buildings through crowdsourced image/video data from in-vehicle cameras analyzed with state-of-the-art AI algorithms developed by the research group. 

The results of these research projects will assist Edmonton, and the region, to improve its work on climate change using local, current and relevant information. All research is shared to a wider network of municipalities worldwide. 

About the CitiesIPCC Legacy Research Grant Program

In March 2018, the City of Edmonton hosted the inaugural Cities and Climate Change Science Conference (CitiesIPCC), attracting over 800 scientists, researchers and policy-makers to the city. An outcome of this event was a research agenda, the Global Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change Science, that compiled an inventory of research and knowledge gaps critical for cities to make policy, growth and investment decisions. This Global Research Agenda includes six different topic areas: Urban Planning and Design; Built and Blue/ Green Infrastructure; Sustainable Consumption and Production; Finance; and Uncertainty and Informality.

After the close of the conference, Edmonton created the CitiesIPCC Legacy Research Grant program to support research that would aid Edmonton in its science-based, climate-related decisions for both mitigating greenhouse gas emissions as well as to help the City to adapt to a changing climate. The City of Edmonton, with support from Alberta Ecotrust, have partnered since 2019 to deliver the research grants.

Learn more about past research supported by the grant program:

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