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Resilience and adaptation to climate change in cities: time for action with nature-based solutions

Abstract

The effects of climate change in cities, such as the occurrence of extreme high temperature events, has brought severe challenges to the health of human settlements and urban sustainability. Extreme heat events have caused several heat disasters and seriously threatened the health of urban residents, especially vulnerable people. To ameliorate these urban heat extremes, urban green has been recognized as one of the most effective means because of its cooling effect. Consequently, an urban greening planning framework which can achieve socio-ecological win-wins is highly desirable. Therefore, the overarching goal of this project is to enhance our understanding on how Nature-based Solutions can help to build more resilient and adaptive cities for climate change. China and Brazil, both developing countries with large populations, are facing rapid urbanization. By exploring the spatial heterogeneity of urban extreme heat in both cities, the research team aims to assess urban thermal risk and propose an urban greening planning framework to cope with urban climate change. The methods encompass attribution of urban heat extremes, heat risk assessment, within-city spatial variation of urban tree's cooling efficiency and the optimization of green space under the current and future climate. Combining the cooling effects of urban trees and social vulnerability to extreme heat, we identify spatial prioritizing neighborhoods in need of heat interventions and potential locations for tree planting. Finally, we quantify the pathways governing urban temperature and propose spatial plans for tree planting under different scenarios based on future climate change and urbanization. (AU)

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