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New guidelines from Arup to tackle climate change concern

Arup launches a series of guidelines to tackle the global concern of climate change through multiple solutions like greening buildings, infrastructure, streets and open spaces in the city of Madrid.

“Madrid + Natural” is part of a collaborative assessment to the local City Hall and provides multiple nature-based solutions to regulate Madrid’s urban environment and respond to problems like pollution, increased heavy storm events, drought, periods of abnormally hot temperatures and local biodiversity loss.

It highlights the importance of green urban infrastructure as a way to protect buildings from thermal fluctuations and extreme weather.

While green walls and large-scale independent vertical infrastructure can improve air quality and acoustics, sustainable roofs can increase the efficiency of PV panels by reducing ambient temperatures, provide cooling and create habitat for biodiversity.

Susana Saiz, sustainable and energy team at Arup, said: “Research in the field has demonstrated the potential of greens roofs and urban forests as a strategy for adapting urban ecosystems to the impacts of climate change.

“Temperature reductions up to 4.5°C over the summer were reported in areas of Madrid where these strategies have been implemented.”

Urban farming can also be implemented on rooftops and unused spaces between buildings to optimise the use of urban space as concerns rise over instability of the global food trade and lack of space for agriculture.

The report also suggests greening of existing infrastructure like transport links, empty spaces, bridges or obsolete infrastructure as a way to provide natural habitats for wildlife and spaces for human enjoyment.

Tom Armour, landscape architecture group leader at Arup, said: “Increasing tree cover, flood capacity and providing greener streets and spaces are key elements of green networks, and can have positive effects on the economic and social cohesion of neighbourhoods.

“Research shows that tree-lined streets can encourage people to seek alternative modes of transport and pursue healthier lifestyles; leading to an increased sense of community belonging.”

“Madrid + Natural” also highlights the importance of retrofitting unused social infrastrcutre to reinvigorate neighbourhoods and improve wellbeing.

Low maintenance greening techniques in close consultation with local communities can help overcome maintenance challenges whilst strengthening a sense of ownership.

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