Climate change is going just as badly for cities as we have been warned it would. Extreme weather is increasingly common and severe globally. Australian cities have endured a number of recent disastrous events.
It’ll get worse, too. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change factsheet outlining impacts on human settlements is a very sobering read. It also pithily sums up the situation cities face:
Concentrated risk and concentrated opportunity for action.
Implicit in this wording is a hopeful truth: adapting to climate change is a daunting task, but the “how” is not a mystery. The opportunity is right in front of us, in our streets, buildings and parklands. Around the world we are seeing effective retrofitting of cities to adapt to more extreme weather.
Here are a few inspiring exemplars.
Keeping cities cool
Planting trees to create shade is an obvious response to hot weather. However, in many cities it’s still a struggle just to stop the losses of trees. Future hot, dry climates will add to the challenge of urban greening.
Medellin in Colombia is one city making inspiring progress on this front. With an urban greening budget of $16.3 million, it has created a network of 30 “green corridors” through the city. These have reduced urban heat island effects by 2 degrees Celsius three years into the programme. As these densely…