Urban climate phenomena like urban heat island effect (UHI), strong winds in some areas of the city and stagnant air in others are growing in urban areas as they affect its residents’ health, wellbeing, and safety. Climate change and rapid population growth exacerbate the problem.
While there are many possible solutions known, there is still a lack of adequate adaptation strategies implemented because of a general lack of awareness of it according to a study.
Researchers conducted the study in 10 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, and the USA and interviewed specialist in the urban sustainability field, primarily from consultancies, government, academia, and NGO’s.
The study used a questionnaire to gauge the levels of perceived awareness on urban climate adaptation strategies between countries and between community actors consisting of its citizens, politicians, urban planners/designers, and urban climate scientists responsible for sharing their urban environment.
The study delved into what these actors understand about urban climate adaptation measures, how awareness varies between countries, and how awareness is linked to education levels and temperature ranges.
Climate adaptation strategies include the following – the city’s layout, vegetation and building materials (paving, and coating) that can lower temperatures, and minimise anthropogenic heat sources from air conditioning combustion from cars.
Data revealed a significant difference between countries in the level of awareness. Levels of awareness correlate with educational levels rather than the country’s climatic conditions.
Awareness also varies widely between each group. Participants thought that citizens and politicians have lower awareness than urban planners and climate experts because of their formal education.
As citizens and politicians are part of the decision-making process and responsible for implementing adaptation measures, there is a need to raise their awareness.
Suggested methods to raise awareness include education through media campaigns, easy to understand information on the types of interventions or examples of good practices and successful projects, and interactive events like workshops and exhibitions.
The study is interesting as it reveals the participants’ perceptions of the level of awareness between different groups of people in society.
Because the study is done in ten countries, it is quite broad in scope. Data and information in the study will be helpful to other cities and areas with similar problems.
To read the entire study, click the link below:
Lenzholzer, S., Carsjens, G., Brown, R., Tavares, S., Vanos, J., Kim, Y., & Lee, K. (2020). Awareness of urban climate adaptation strategies –an international overview. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2020.100705