Cities must adapt to deal with impacts of climate change such as higher temperatures and longer periods of heat stress, which come on top of existing problems caused by the Urban Heat Island phenomenon. Changes are needed in the physical realm, transitions need be made in policy and governance, and the resilience of urban communities to these conditions needs to be improved.
Greenspace, and the urban forest in particular, is one of the most effective means of climate adaptation through the ability of trees to ameliorate extremes in urban thermal cycles. Beyond this, the urban forest (understood as the entire mosaic of trees in urban public open spaces) offers added benefits to urban water management, air quality, biodiversity, health & wellbeing, and overall urban liveability.
The ubiquity of trees and greenspace in cities also positions them as effective agents for building climate resilience in urban communities. Despite these potentials however, and the long tradition of establishing and maintaining urban trees in Dutch cities, the role of the urban forest in addressing these new challenges remains limited.
Barriers occur in three areas:
- the lack of data and relative infancy of scientific tools to model tree performances in relation to urban thermal cycles,
- the lack of (scientifically developed) methodologies for stakeholders to incorporate urban tree benefits into public infrastructure,
- the absence of correlated strategies to effectively empower green infrastructure in resilience-building of urban communities.
This project equips participating research institutes with novel methodologies and classification systems on and around tree physiognomy and physiology in relation to urban microclimate amelioration. It also provides participating research institutes with specific datasets on cooling performances of various urban tree species and their growth curves in the Cfb climate zone. These datasets are also intended to contribute to the international scientific community initiative i-Tree, an initiative developed by urban forestry and greenspace researchers and practitioners on five continents.
Project budget €811,573 with €398,573 PPS surcharge being used.