Many measures aimed at adapting cities to the consequences of climate change are limited to the physical living environment. But the design and quality of our living environment is closely linked to various social aspects, and directly and indirectly affects the health of people, plants, animals and the environment. In the Climate Adaptation and Health programme (part of the National Research Agenda), the Dutch Research Council and ZonMw are supporting new research into measures at the interface of the physical, social and health domains. A broad research consortium led by Erwin van der Krabben of Radboud University will receive some €2 million for research into ways to modify the urban infrastructure to reduce heat stress in our cities.
Healthier living environments in cities
Climate change is having an increasing influence on our health due to heat stress (indoors and outdoors), but also on the quality of our water and the diversity of plants. ‘Blue’ infrastructure such as lakes, canals and ponds and ‘green’ infrastructure like trees, plants and herbs can help reduce heat stress by cooling the urban environment. BENIGN (BluE and greeN Infrastructure desiGned to beat the urbaN heat) is investigating how blue and green infrastructure can be optimally deployed in the urban environment to create healthier living conditions. Living labs will be established in three municipalities (Hilversum, Dordrecht and Leiden) to conduct the research. An important outcome of the BENIGN project will be a decision support system that can be used by municipalities to compare options for green and blue interventions to create a healthier living environment.
In the BENIGN consortium, researchers representing various disciplines from Radboud University, VU University Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research, University of Applied Sciences Leiden, Deltares and the Donders Institute (affiliated with Radboud University) will work together with partners from the business community, NGOs and the municipalities of Hilversum, Dordrecht and Leiden. The project will be led by Erwin van der Krabben, Professor of Spatial Planning at Radboud University.
Want to know more? Please contact:
- Radboud University Science Communication, media [at] ru.nl, +31 24 361 6000