Benelux information session on tackling heat and drought in urban areas

The media increasingly report on extreme heat and drought in the world, and cities in particular. A heat wave causes major problems, such as health problems, a high demand for energy through the use of air conditioning and increased demand for drinking water. National climate plans towards 2050 already pay attention to climate adaptation to keep life in cities more liveable. To keep cities liveable in 2050, action is needed now.

That action is needed now was underlined during a meeting of the working group on climate adaptation, at which Dr. ir. Robbert Snep gave a presentation and discussed how to combat heat and drought in cities with the working group. Among other things, we discussed which measures can reduce the wind chill and what ambitions municipalities should have to keep cities liveable. For example, green-blue solutions, where trees and plants are combined with open water, could lead to a reduction of 9° Celsius.

This sounds like a nice solution, but there are still many challenges. One of the biggest challenges is spatial planning. Where can green and blue solutions be placed in the city and how do we ensure that the distance to cooling areas is not too great for certain neighbourhoods. Moreover, it takes several years for a tree to grow. The key message of the meeting was that action is needed now to keep the city liveable in 2050.