Preventing Urban Heat Islands - What measures can solve the phenomenon of “heat islands” in urban centers?

Urban Heat Islands

Climate change favoured the intensification of heat waves during summer. In recent years the microclimate of central urban areas has changed and heat islands have been observed. How can we solve the problem of heat islands in Piatra Neamț?

Challenge description

The widespread presence of asphalt and concrete in the central area of the city and the reduced green areas causes solar radiation to be better absorbed, this further is increasing the temperatures, causing the so-called "urban heat island" phenomenon.

The city of Piatra Neamț is trying to solve the problems of urban heat islands through greening public spaces. The implementation of measures only in public areas is insufficient.

Challenge vision

The solutions proposed should address the needs by different categories of citizens, such as young and elderly people, and focus on the following aspects:

  • How can we solve the problem of heat islands in the central zone of Piatra Neamt?
  • How to adapt the infrastructure?
  • How can overheated urban spaces become comfortable?
  • How would you design new green areas?
  • How can we optimize these current areas?

In general, the solutions should enhance the quality of life and well-being of citizens through dedicated urban design and street furniture, taking also care of aesthetic aspects and possibly conferring a local identity to the urban setting (e.g. green roofs). It is hoped that such solutions favor active engagement by the private sector (citizens or companies). Citizen involvement as “guardians” or “sensors” of urban development allows to raise the environmental awareness of local communities and activate their “social capital”, thus favoring practical implementation of the solutions themselves. Solutions could also address the increase of green spaces and temporary shading solutions. Ultimately, the solutions proposed should therefore aim to mitigate and reduce the negative impacts of urbanization on health, the environment, the climate and livability of the city itself. 

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