Urban Green Areas as Cooling Safeguards
In March-August 2016 NGO “Green Wave” has implemented the project “Management of urban green areas as an element of adaptation to climate change in cities.” The project analyzed legal framework of creating and managing urban green zones, as well as estimated how to maintain green zones in a sustainable manner to ensure comfort living of citizens under “heat waves” which nowadays occur in every big Ukrainian city due to climate change.
How to estimate the effectiveness of green zones in a city to face climate change? The project team used a method of thermal surface mapping of green zones with drone and thermal camera in the hot summer period, estimating in parallel leaf CO2 fluxes for 5 Kyiv tree species under extremely hot conditions. As a second project component, a readiness of the Ukrainian legal framework dealing with urban green zones to face climate change has been analyzed.
The project results have highlighted significant legislation gaps in urban green zones’ management, as it is both not systematized and not enough controlled in Ukraine. Research results have shown that Chestnut and Poplar’s trees are absorbing CO2 the most effectively during heat wave event. In a time when asphalt and roofs surface temperatures reach 45ºС and more, greened urban surfaces do not exceed 25–30ºС, and trees are cooler than grass.
This knowledge and more project outputs could be useful for city planning and green zones renovation for existing districts in Ukraine.
The project has been done under EU financial support (Climate Forum East II, National Ecological Centre of Ukraine) in cooperation with a scientific institution (State Centre for Aerospace research of the Earth), and business (Drone.ua Ltd).