CLIMACTIONS Adaptation and mitigation to CLIMATE CHANGES: urban interventions for health promotion

Home / CLIMACTIONS Adaptation and mitigation to CLIMATE CHANGES: urban interventions for health promotion
CLIMACTIONS Adaptation and mitigation to CLIMATE CHANGES: urban interventions for health promotion

The actions that cities will choose to implement in the coming decades will be an essential factor in combating climate change. More than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas (which occupy about 2% of the mainland). In terms of climate impact, cities consume over two-thirds of the total energy and are responsible for over 70% of global CO2 emissions. Urban areas are also at high risk of suffering the most devastating effects of climate change due to expected extreme weather events (heat waves, hurricanes and floods, sea level rise) (IPCC 2014). Cities are therefore at the forefront of the fight against climate change and must play a leading role in the strategies to identify adaptation and mitigation actions (https://www.c40.org/why_cities). Such solutions and interventions must be proposed on the basis of scientific evidence.

Objective

The project aims to provide local stakeholders with an important tool for promoting adaptation and mitigation measures to face the effects of heat waves in the urban environment with evidence of health benefits and greater livability in the urban context. Following a recent WHO review (WHO 2016) it is increasingly clear that urban green spaces have the potential to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental disorders. Therefore, having urban green indicators integrated with population and land use data represents an indispensable tool for fostering a cultural change for the stakeholders operating in the urban environment. This would also lead to the implementation of more effective strategies against environmental risks (such as areas with greater intensity of the urban heat island phenomenon), as well as greater awareness at the general population level.

Actions:

  • Implementation of innovative tools to support the decision-making process in big Italian cities. Such tools will be derived from the integration, through GIS techniques, of the risks of the urban heat island phenomenon, the vulnerability of the population and other relevant local factors (structure of buildings, typology of materials), with a high level spatial and temporal detail.
  • Integration of the general population (eg Metropolitan Longitudinal Studies), environmental and health data, considering among the health outcomes, non-fatal outcomes as well as fatal ones. This because, well-managed urban green is part of those urban planning interventions that can contribute to improving the environmental quality of spaces and guarantee physical and psychological well-being of the people who inhabit them, influeing the lifestyles and affecting the socio-cultural behavior of people.
  • Case-studies to be evaluated: the mitigation factors of the Urban Heat Island (UHI), the heterogeneity of the urban heat island phenomenon in sub-areas of the city (e.g. highly urbanized ‘gray’ area), and the interaction between environmental exposure and socio-economic and demographic determinants.
  • Experimentation with the planning of new green infrastructures in critical areas of the city (e.g. schools), evaluating the role well-managed urban greenery as a protective factor against childhood asthma. And experimentation of urban planning interventions to contrast UHI , such as pilot demonstration of “smart” green areas in urban areas.

This project in its various articulations will affect 6 urban areas (Turin, Genoa, Bologna, Rome, Bari and Palermo) for a total of about five million residents (24% of the Italian population residing in urban areas – Source ISTAT 2017 https: // www.istat.it/it/files/2017/05/Urbanizzazione.pdf). In all the cities included in the study, the health impact associated with high temperatures and the UHI effect will be estimated by integrating the data and methodologies already developed within the CCM “National Operational Plan for the Prevention of the Effects of Heat” with population data (eg longitudinal cohorts) and innovative environmental indicators with high spatial resolution from satellite data.
Palermo case study:
Evaluation of the maintenance and care of green areas and gardens in kindergartens and primary schools. Identification of the intervention plan and evaluation of the health outcomes through a questionnaire for allergy and respiratory function assessment (IRIB-CNR in collaboration with the University and the Municipality).

 

 

 

 

 

 

CNR STAFF

Stefania La Grutta Research Director

Velia Malizia Researcher

Giovanna Cilluffo Researcher

Laura Montalbano Research Fellow

Salvatore Fasola Post-doc Fellow

 

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