The impacts of climate change are already perceptible in the urban area of Toulouse, which has been affected by extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves, water scarcity and heavy rainfall. These extreme events will become more frequent and intense; it is therefore necessary to put in place solutions to reduce the vulnerability of the territory.
In particular, the effect of heatwaves is amplified by the urban heat island (UHI) effect, which is a micro-climate phenomenon leading to higher temperatures in localisedurban areas, due to the morphology and materials used to build cities as well as human activities. The UHI effect increases the ambient air temperature by an average of 4C in Toulouse, in comparison with the temperature in rural neighbouring zones. This is the case on the Ile du Ramier, which has hosted Toulouses large exhibition centre since 1950. In 2020, the relocation of this building to a less dense and more accessible area (near the airport) is foreseen, freeing space in the heart of Toulouse for regreening.
The main objective of the LIFE Green Heart project is to reduce the local temperature by 3C on average during heatwave events on an area of 30 hectares located on the Ile du Ramier in Toulouse, by counteracting the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Surrounding neighbourhoods will also benefit from this cooling effect.
The Green Heart projects overall aim is to increase the resilience of Toulouse Mtropoles territory to climate change. The project includes four operational objectives to address the causes and consequences of the UHI effect: 1. Increasing the green space surface area by 15 hectares by 2024 (including riverside vegetation), using adapted plants and planting methods; 2. Restoring biodiversity by consolidating the green and blue infrastructure; 3. Limiting air and noise pollution by developing routes for soft modes of transport (e.g. cycle lanes); and 4. Creating tools to support the development of long-term urban development policy, considering the challenges posed by adapting the territory to climate change.
The project aims to contribute to the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (COM(2011)244) and the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011)571). At the local level, the project aims at implementing the Territorial Climate Energy Plan of Toulouse Mtropole for 2018-2023.