Nearly four out of five European citizens live in cities, which are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as heatwaves, flooding and droughts as well as to other typically urban phenomena, such as the urban heat island effect. Specific urban adaptation strategies are therefore needed to make cities more resilient to climate change. In this context, urban green areas (UGAs) and infrastructures are seen as among the most widely applicable, economically viable and effective tools for combating the impacts of climate change and for help people adapt to or mitigate its adverse effects. Local governments invest considerable resources in the maintenance and safety of UGAs, but they are increasingly faced with budget constraints, which could eventually compromise the existing benefits of green infrastructure. Furthermore, the benefits of UGAs – improved air quality, reduced heat build-up, rainfall retention, etc. – are often not quantified easily, nor communicated to the citizens using these areas. Although some tools are available for supporting the management of these areas, there is a growing need to have in place smart and integrated systems, such as GIS, that can provide a good basis for integrating all assets, maintenance operations, environmental indicators and inputs from citizens.
The overall aim of LIFE URBANGREEN is to consolidate the knowledge base and availability of tools for the development and evaluation of climate policy and legislation, based on an innovative management approach to UGAs that allows cities to respond to climate change. This will be achieved by optimising an innovative technological platform to monitoring the ecosystem services of UGAs and demonstrating its use in real scenarios. The aim is to improve UGA management in Rimini (Italy) and Krakow (Poland). The platform will be based on GIS technologies and will include an assessment of the ecosystem services provided by green areas in cities, a smart management of water needs of trees and their irrigation, the use of remote sensing data (2D and 3D), meteorological and an environmental monitoring system, and public participation tools (smart city).
Specifically, the project aims to: