Environment Agency calls for more green spaces to cool German cities

Environment Agency calls for more green spaces to cool German cities

During heatwaves like the one recently seen in Germany, life in inner city areas quickly becomes unbearable, while the surrounding countryside is often left comparatively cool. To help better arm German cities for climate change and rising temperatures, the Federal Environment Agency is calling for more green spaces to be developed to bring cooling effects to urban areas. 

Climate change threatening the health of people in Germany

Germany’s Federal Environment Agency is urging cities to take action now to be better prepared for extreme weather like high temperatures and heavy rain. “We have to rebuild our cities in order to be able to live with climate change,” said President Dirk Messner. “Above all, this includes a lot more greenery in the cities. That cools things down significantly.”

Describing last year’s flooding disaster in the Ahr Valley and this year’s heatwave, which has seen Europe sweating in 40-degree-plus temperatures, as just the beginning of the crisis, Messner said that climate change was not only threatening the health and livelihood of people in developing countries, but also in Germany. He called for the restructuring of cities to start now, to protect residents.

Bringing greenery to German cities to beat the heat

Messner’s vision would see cities across the country create heat action plans, to analyse and pinpoint so-called “heat centres”. On the basis of this information, authorities could start measures such as retrofitting buses and trains with air conditioning, or reconfiguring public spaces like car parks, streets and paved squares into “cooling green” areas.

Public institutions like daycare centres, schools or fire stations could become role models for heat prevention systems using natural methods, such as green roofs, while existing trees and parks would be preserved and secured with irrigation systems, to help save vital water.

Since green spaces help to soak up and store water, which then evaporates when the temperature increases, bringing another cooling effect, Messner said such measures would help in the fight against heat and flooding. On top of that, it would improve the quality of life in general and create space for climate-friendly modes of transport, such as cycling. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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