PhD Summer School 2015: Design for Adaptation. Resilient Urban Communities.

07 Sep 2015

Register now before 1 July 2015 and take the chance to learn all about resilient urban communities!

This two-week intensive programme revolves around the challenge of adaptation towards climate change that urban communities face. Revolving around the strategic challenge to increase the capacity of society, cities and infrastructure to be able to adapt to climate change, the Bologna region with its built and natural environment will serve as an example to assess the issues. It is up to you to come up with creative solutions for the cities’ adaptation issues!

Designing resilient urban communities

This summer school offers a learning-by-experiencing approach to design for adaptation in the context of urban communities. On the basis of case studies revolving around the Bologna region, you will learn how to use a range of tools and methods and how to develop adaptation services and solutions for urban contexts, with a specific focus on UHI, water management, extreme events and hydro-geological risks. Students will engage in the creation of collaborative, multi-perspective, cross-disciplinary approaches for designing innovative and creative ideas and solutions in order to boost effective adaptation actions.


While the main venue of the summer school will be in the historical centre of Bologna, during the two week our group of students will go on interesting excursions: The Pilastro District and the river Reno areas represents two different urban environments with specific challenges which can have an impact on the whole city. Representatives of the Municipality and main local stakeholders (public and private) will accompany you in discovering the key issues and opportunities.

During the summer school other trips within the city will give you wider knowledge of the city: how modern architectures and approaches deal with historical heritage, the long history and relationship between Bologna and the water and its impact in economic and social city life.


In case of any questions concerning this PhD Summer school, feel free to contact Paola Valandro via paola.valandro@climate-kic.org

In case of any questions concerning the contents of this PhD Summer school, please contact Jacopo Gaspari via jacopo.gaspari@unibo.it


Hosting Companies

In our Summer School, you will work on real-life challenges which have emerged within the Bologna region. Through cooperation of Climate-KIC partner ASTER with the University of Bologna, the Municipality of Bologna and the Bologna Urban Centre, a holistic view of adaptation issues in urban communities is presented. At the outset of the summer school, specific challenges will be presented to our students, who will work in small teams to find ways to create and implement solutions. After two weeks of intensive work, all teams will present the results to project representatives, their fellow students and an external jury.

Learning objectives

Throughout the Summer school special attention will be given to a set amount of skills and understandings that will be beneficial for future career paths, you will learn:

  • How to merge theoretical approaches with real life cases, by stimulating PhD students to connect their research path with practical experiences in the city of Bologna and through specific case-studies (Local Adaptation Plan of the City of Bologna and BlueAp project);
  • How to develop adaptation services and solutions for urban contexts, with a specific focus on UHI, water management, extreme events and hydro-geological risks;
  • To understand the growing role of climate insurances, risk analysis and resilience;
  • How to develop collaborative, multi-perspective, cross-disciplinary approach for designing innovative and creative ideas and solutions in order to boost effective renovation actions;
  • How to effectively communicate the innovative adaptation services and envisaged solutions to stimulate participation process engaging stakeholders and communities
  • To assume an effective communication (to both the citizens and the political actors) of the risks connected to climate change, its impact on quality of life and economic implication (i.e: “how to talk about Resilience and Adaptation”) as a tool to deliver a new vision of the city for tomorrow.

Programme outline

7 September – 18 September 2015


6 September – Day 0                    
Arrival day, voluntary welcome dinner.

7 September – Day 1                    
Welcome & exploring: the key challenges of design for adaptation in Bologna. Introduction and visit to the case study sites.

8 September – Day 2                    
Understanding new design drivers: Climate Change & Adaptation. The strategy of Bologna adaptation Plan. Forming groups, meeting   with City representatives and visioning scenarios.

9 September – Day 3                    
Academic & coach training: communication, participation and key player engagement. Development of ideas and projects considering the community and the context.

10 September – Day 4                    
Design for adaptation: core principles and best practice. Development of projects including business model and feasibility aspects.

11 September – Day 5                    
Insurance, risk analysis and resilience: an emerging and growing issue in future scenarios of cities. Project development and pitch of project visions.

12, 13 September – Weekend              
Time for group work, free time.
Excursion: Guided tour of the city most attractive sites, experience of Bologna food and nightlife.

14 September – Day 8                    
Climate change & in/outdoor comfort: the influence and the impacts of Urban Heat Island. Discussion about the projects development.
Excursion: Architecture in Bologna.

15 September – Day 9                    
The stakeholders involvement: multi-perspective approaches and conflicts. Coach training: public debate, key mode of communication, key concept of the project.

16 September – Day 10                  
Academic & coach training: Connections and quality of life. Preparation for public debate in the case study sites. Discussion with stakeholders.

17 September – Day 11                  
Optimized design – inspiring case studies. Time for project development and finalization considering suggestions, feedback and acquired experiences.

18 September – Day 12                  
Reflection on the experience and preparation for final pitch. Presentation of group works to the jury. Announcement of jury decision and goodbye party.

Who can participate?

Participation in a PhD thematic summer school is part of the Climate-KIC PhD programme. All Climate-KIC PhD students should take part in a thematic summer school in their second or third year.

Furthermore we are happy to welcome students pursuing their PhD outside of Climate-KIC and who are interested in climate change topics. Post-graduates with outstanding skills and motivation to participate are also invited to apply.

The summer school will be held in English, in order to participate, students should have sufficient language skills. Therefore, short interviews might be conducted with the applicants to test their English skills and their motivation.


How to apply?

Apply today!

Applications for this summer school are now being received until the application deadline of 1 July 2015. Please provide a copy of your passport as an attachment to your application.

Any applications submitted after the deadline will be marked late and will be considered only after the review of applications received on or before 1 July 2015. Letters of acceptance will be sent out in two weeks after the application deadline.

Find more information here.



As the PhD Summer School is an integral part of Climate-KIC’s PhD programme, costs are fully covered for Climate-KIC labelled students.

  • 500,- EUR for PhDs from partner universities and EU citizens
  • 2.000,- EUR for non-EU passport holders

The costs of the programme include accommodation (in double rooms), breakfast and lunch, approx. five dinners per week, as well as local transportation. Participants need to cover the travel costs to/from Bologna themselves.

After the confirmation of acceptance, invoices will be sent out to participants. Course fees need to be paid three weeks before the start of the programme.


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