Thursday, January 29, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 29th January 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

The climate is warming; we can all be sure of that and it is up to us to find strategies for coping with these changes. Some European cities have had enough foresight to find solutions that will help their inhabitants cope with the expected warmer temperatures.

Cities are generally warmer than the surrounding areas due to the Urban Heat Island (UHI), an effect caused by the large amount of concrete and asphalt present. Planting trees and bushes provides shade, reduces temperatures, reduces air pollution, increases biodiversity and improves health and wellbeing.

In Stuttgart, Germany, ventilation corridors are utilised to allow cooler air to flow in from the surrounding areas to the inner city. Because the effects of cooler air are so positive, local inhabitants have been persuaded to keep these corridors free from buildings, a strategy that has been incorporated into the Land Use Plan and resulted in 60% of Stuttgart’s surface area being green.

The city of Nijmegen, in Holland, has included some innovative schemes to create more green spaces. One simple idea was to attach climbing wires to buildings in five streets to enable plants to grow upwards and keep the houses and surrounding areas cooler. So effective was this solution that many other residents have asked for the same in their streets.

There are other, simple solutions to bringing green space into your town or city. Perhaps a car park can become ‘multi-storey’, so freeing up other car parking to create a green space for the enjoyment of all.

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