Green Infrastructure and climate change adaptation
AbstractOne of the main challenges urban areas, and more particularly the compact ones, are currently facing is their adaptation to climate change. In recent years, it has been recognized that a more ecosystem approach to spatial planning can play a critical role in meeting these challenges. Green Infrastructure (GI) and its integration into spatial planning has emerged as one of the most appropriate and effective ways to improve microclimate and tackle the impacts of climate change - specifically the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. This paper initially attempts to clarify the term GI and to portray both its benefits, and its role as an important spatial planning tool, which fulfills different environmental, social and economic needs of urban areas. Then, the paper proceeds to an empirical evaluation of the role of GI in reducing vulnerability to UHI effect in a compact urban area of the city of Thessaloniki. For this reason, a simple methodology is developed with the purpose of highlighting the risks posed by climate change, especially UHI, assessing the potential of already existing GI assets for climate change adaptation in a compact area as well as assessing how their redesign could contribute to maximization of this potential.
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