EU-Cities: Temperatures are on the rise
Cities in the European Union are facing increasingly hot summers. Maria Iaccarino and Francesca Pignataro lay out a strategy to cool down one of the hottest places in the EU - the Italian city of Naples.
MCS: Mrs Iaccarino, you are leading the Central Administration of Protection of environment, territory and sea. Francesca Pignataro, you lead the Central Administration of Land planning and management - both for the City of Naples. You struggle with increasing temperatures in the urban area of naples. How is the situation there now?
Iaccarino: The average temperature is constantly increasing every year, in line with the global trend. Luckily, general awareness about this issue is increasing as well, also thanks to articles published in local newspapers.
Pignataro: As Naples is situated on the coast, emergency situations for the health of citizens are often avoided due to wind but in 2017 there has been many episodes of extreme heat waves. The city's maintenance is strongly affected by heat and by extremely violent precipitations which happen more frequently now.
Also forest fires are more frequent, droughts affect urban trees. There is a long list of negative effects Naples and cities of the European Union have to face right now.
MCS: Who is suffering because of hotter cities?
Iaccarino: Heat waves are a big issue now because our population is getting older. In addition, some public spaces lack a balance of built-up and green areas. There are few public fountains and, in general, blue areas, and there are many narrow and overcrowded streets which don't help dispersing heat. The structure of the historical centre of Naples makes it especially difficult to put monument's safeguard and environmental comfort together.
MCS: What are you doing to easy the situation?
Pinataro: We are collecting best practices to implement new building regulations for private buildings and open spaces. Naples is implementing the SEAP plan (Sustainable Energy Adaptation Plan), which is soon to be approved. Also a reorganization of the offices in the city council has started recently. The former three indipendent structures - Environment, Urban Planning and Infrastructure are transformed in a unique structure, which will be called ‘Macroarea’ with an enhanced interchange of material and human resources.
MCS: How could cities in Europe work together to better adapt to climate change?
Iaccarino: By sharing technologies and experiences, and by cooperating to easier access to funds dedicated to face climate change.
Pignataro: We need an interchange of best practices in managing urbanized areas.
MCS: CLARITY is a project funded by Horizon 2020 to help cities to better adapt to climate change. It is rolling out an special MArketplace were scientists and project planners can exchange information easily. What advantages do you see in this project for Naples?
Iaccarino: It would be most useful to get the right skills and best practices in the environmental field to pass it from SEAP to SEAP and to a lay out a Climate Action Plan.
Pignataro: In a context of growing complexity, the city needs specialized help to define new and binding parameters to control and rule development in brown or urban areas, assessing existent situations and evaluating costs. Data is difficult to provide and to update, and it needs to be standardized. In my point of view the Marketplace could represent the first and general source of data.
Also, our Council uses Urban plans to plan projects on the local and metropolitan level, but there are other sector plans and evaluation activities required to approve a redevelopment or environmental restoration. Such activities are extremely specialized and they are sometimes entrusted to academic organizations or to skilled professionals; I think the Marketplace might be used to obtain this necessary professional advising.
Central Administration of Protection of environment, territory and sea.
1. Sustainable development and SEAP fulfillment
2. Environmental monitoring
3. Green area management
4. Protection of public health and animals
5. Hydrogeological protection of territory and building safety
6. Sea protection
Central Administration of Land planning and management - UNESCO site.
1. General Urban Planning
2. Executive Urban Planning
3. Economic and social analysis to support planning activities
4. UNESCO program and enhancement of the historic city
5. Private buildings
6. Public residential buildings
7. Activities against illegal building