Investigating the Role of GREENery to Improve Climate Resilience, Water, Soil and Air QUALity in DenseUrban Fabric

© EIG Concert Japan
  • Dr. Viktória Sugár - Óbuda University - Hungary
  • Dr. Bálint Hartmann - F4STER - Future 4 Sustainable Transport and Energy Research Institute Co. - Hungary
  • Prof. Kita Michihiro - Osaka University - Japan
  • Dr. Barbara Czesak - University of Agriculture, Krakow - Poland

Both Japan and the European Union set the goal to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050, requiring a balance between emitting and absorbing carbon, for which greenery, as natural carbon sink is essential. Project GREENQUAL aims to improve Urban Green Surfaces (UGS) and investigate their effects in multiple urban fabric types and climate zones to support carbon-neutral cities. The role of UGS includes improving urban water, soil, and air quality, decreasing Urban Heat Island effect, flash floods, and drought occurrences, thus becoming increasingly important for sustainable habitat, climate change adaptability and resilience. The complex effect of greenery in densely built settlements at the same time provides an overall better environment, physical and mental health by reducing exposure of citizens.

During the three years of the project, researchers from Osaka, Krakow and Budapest join their forces to address the above factors with various research methods including cooperative design, workshops, and knowledge transfer. To find optimal UGS solutions, three cities were chosen. In Japan, the focus of the study will be the urban area of Osaka city adjacent to Osaka Bay. In Hungary, the capital city Budapest and its tenement areas are aimed, the densely built turn-of the century area in flat Pest and hilly Buda, also the characteristic Socialist Modernist estates are in focus. In Poland, Krakow, the centre of Old Town and its parks and so-called green strips and big meadow are investigated.

To fulfil their roles, urban green areas must be accessible. Therefore, accessibility of greenery in the cities is monitored to support environmental justice in carbon neutral cities. A new method for determining UGS accessibility is tested and proposed to overcome the limitations of existing approaches. The accessibility is measured in large-scale, using city data sets, open data as well as satellite imagery. 2-3 case study blocks in every city are chosen to be modelled in 2D and 3D, their basic characteristics for example density, infrastructure and building geometry level measurements are collected. As next step, simulation, experiments, and calculation of the case study blocks carried out, using different methodologies based on the unique expertise of the partner institutions.

The results and methods are analysed and compared, their applicability to different city and climate zones is investigated via co-design workshop to ensure knowledge transfer between the partners, and the systematic and holistic focus for the final results. The research results, best practices and the sample green surfaces designed are summarised in a handbook and published, which can be utilised by all countries’ key stakeholders – municipalities, urban and architectural design offices, strategy making, and decision support professionals can gain information and designs for UGS to support a sustainable future.

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