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Soil as basis for a climate proof and healthy urban area

Bodem als draagvlak voor een klimaatbestendige en gezonde stad


One of the effects of climate change expected to take place in urban areas in the Netherlands is an increase in periods of extreme heat and drought. Moreover, extreme rainfall events will probably occur, which may lead to an overburdening of public water systems in Dutch cities. How the soil can contribute to making cities more climate proof is often neglected. Research has shown that the presence of unsealed soil increases water storage capacity and can consequently prevent flooding. The planning of public or private green spaces, can also have a cooling effect during periods of extreme heat. In general, green spaces have a positive effect on how people living in the neighborhood perceive their health. Green areas and unsealed soil per neighborhood on the map: The benefits of water storage capacity and green spaces are difficult to express in averages. The benefits depend on many different factors such as soil properties, type of green spaces and spatial planning. To assist local authorities with policy, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has made maps that provide insight into the ratio of unsealed soil and the number of green spaces per household in relation to existing guidelines supporting climate policies. Based on these maps, policy assessments can be made, for example, in which site a neighborhood will most benefit from investment in parks and public gardens. Maps marking the age and socialeconomic status of the population have also been made. These maps show that in the model city that was studied for this research, the neighborhoods where people have a low social-economic status have fewer green spaces than others. Opportunities for common interests: To make it easier for achieving measures for more public green spaces and water storage capacity, local authorities should link goals for climate adaptation to goals in different policy fields. Examples of this are infrastructure, public health, safety and sustainability. The new legislation, which the current government is working on, aims at encouraging cooperation between different sectors. This research provides insight how goals for climate adaptation, soil, water and health can be linked.

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