Cities pledge more green space to combat urban heat

Author

Daniel Cusick

Source(s)
Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.
Two people sitting on a bench by a river in Bangkok, Thailand
Igor Ovsyannykov/Pixabay

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Thirty-one cities, including four from the United States, made commitments last week to reverse course under a new global compact called the “Urban Nature Declaration.” It aims to reduce the heat island effect, stem urban flooding and improve living conditions by replacing lifeless, impervious landscapes with shaded or watery havens for climate-stressed communities.

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The declaration calls on C40 cities to meet urban green space goals through one of two pathways. One is ensuring that 30% to 40% of total built-up surface area is green space or permeable surface by 2030. Secondly, cities can meet a “fit-for-purpose green or blue space” standard by ensuring that 70% of residents can walk or bike to a park or water feature within 15 minutes.

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Besides Los Angeles, other cities of 5 million or more signing the declaration were London; Tokyo; Mumbai, India; Rio de Janeiro; and Sydney. It also drew support from Toronto; Paris; Rome; Berlin; Barcelona, Spain; Stockholm; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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