Urban changes

Ten cities and regions across eight EU member states are to collaborate in developing policies that will help them adapt to climate change, which will include increasing green spaces.

The project, known as Green and Blue Space Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change in Urban Areas and EcoTowns (GraBS), is led by Dr Jeremy Carter from Manchester University and managed by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA). It aims to raise awareness among local and regional authorities about which neighbourhoods are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change and devise approaches to help them respond.

According to Carter, heat waves, flooding and subsidence will be the main threat to cities that have not adapted to climate change. Proposals include using urban green spaces, and waterways and lakes, areas otherwise know as blue space.

‘The need for cities to adapt to climate change is enormous,’ said Carter. ‘If we protect and enhance green and blue space and encourage sustainable urban development then a viable future for our cities can be achieved.

‘Research at Manchester University’s Centre for Urban Regional Ecology (CURE) has already found that an increase of 10 per cent in urban green cover would be enough to keep temperature close to current levels, even accounting for the increases predicted by climate modellers.’

Carter is also working on a related project known as Eco Cities, which will develop Greater Manchester’s first integrated climate change adaptation strategy.

TCPA chief executive Gideon Amos said: ‘By sharing best practice and advancing the knowledge and expertise of partner staff through the project, regional and local municipalities, decisions makers, politicians and communities will be able to make a more informed and strategic response to climate change adaptation.’

The GraBS project is funded through the European Union European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) INTERREG IVC Programme.