Bologna: Bottom-up Plan Protects Against Rain, Drought, and Heat

Under the Bologna Local Urban Environment Adaptation Plan for a Resilient City (BLUE AP) project, the northern Italian city utilized an active, bottom-up participatory process to create a local climate profile, which analyzes the municipality’s climate vulnerabilities, a risk assessment mapping, and, ultimately, an adaptation plan for the next decade. Goals of the plan, many of which are underway through pilot programs, include the creation of more than 28,000 m2 and 15,000 m2 of semi-permeable and permeable surfaces throughout Bologna and cultivating 30 hectares of vegetable gardens around the city by 2025.

10 liters per day reduction in per capita water use by 2025 to conserve resources


Sixty meetings with at least 500 participants were held during the project in order to engage citizens and bring them into the decision-making process. The city also created working sessions on five main topics, including greening, agriculture and garden, unconventional weather events, permeability projects, and economic development of the city area, where stakeholders from public, private, and civic organizations could weigh in on their area of expertise and contribute to the design and development of the local climate profile, risk map, and ultimate adaptation plan.

The challenge

In recent years, Bologna has experienced a growing frequency and intensity of heavy rain, droughts, and heat waves. Under the BLUE AP project, the city has solicited public opinion and stakeholder engagement to create a local climate profile, detailing its strengths and weaknesses, risk assessment map, and full-fledged adaptation plan in order to address these vulnerabilities in the years to come.


Economic The adaptation plan aims to reduce recovery costs associated with landslides, floods, and water-damaged infrastructure.

Environmental The plan’s guidelines for improved water drainage will not stress the sewage system and consequently will contribute to preserving the city’s water quality.

Health The plan includes an alert system in case of heat waves, designed to protect the city’s vulnerable residents from dangerous temperatures.

Social The bottom-up nature of the entire project, including the climate profile, risk map, and adaptation plan, have bolstered community engagement throughout Bologna.

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