Arnhem has planted the world’s first ever stadsklimaatboom (‘urban climate tree’) in the Sonsbeekkwartier. This district is experiencing serious heat problems, which are known as the ‘urban heat island effect’. The tree will be ceremoniously unveiled by municipal councillor Henk Kok at 8 p.m. on Tuesday 16 September. This will be followed by a mini-symposium on the urban climate in the district in De Hommel community centre.
The urban climate tree has been planted on Graaf Ottoplein. It is a pagoda tree sapling, which in combination with a work of art, will be promoted as an urban climate tree. This initiative of the city of Arnhem (and others) was sparked by the book ‘Het weer in de stad’ (The weather in the city) by Sanda Lenzholzer (Wageningen University), which was presented last November. In this book, Lenzholzer clearly illustrates how better urban design could be used to improve thermal comfort in towns and cities.
Using trees to improve urban climate
This summer’s high temperatures have been the bane of many people’s lives, preventing them from working or sleeping. It is one of the effects of urban heat islands. “There are ways to tackle this problem,” says Sanda Lenzholzer. “Planting trees is one of the most effective ones. Trees give shade and prevent the town from warming up. Their stomata release vapour into the atmosphere, which has a cooling effect on the temperature. In addition, trees filter out particulate matter and other forms of air pollution. All in all, trees can have a very positive effect on urban climate.”
First urban climate tree unveiled in Arnhem
In order to promote the positive features of trees, Arnhem will ceremoniously unveil the world’s very first example of an urban climate tree on Graaf Ottoplein in Arnhem at 8. p.m. on 16 September 2014. The party will then proceed to De Hommel community centre for a mini-symposium on urban climate in the district. Local speakers will talk about some promising ideas for improving urban climate. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.