A recent study by Barcelona's Institute of Global Health found that nearly 40% of deaths attributable to high heat in cities could be prevented by increasing tree coverage. The study established a link between urban heat and increased mortality rates and hospital admissions for adults and children, and estimated the possible reductions in temperature and mortality that could result from planting more trees. Researchers found that a 30% increase in tree coverage could lead to a 40% decrease in deaths from urban heat.
The study recommends replacing impervious surfaces with permeable or vegetated areas, increasing the use of light colours on city roofs and walls, and creating more bike-able and walk-able cities to reduce heat from cars. Whilst the report applies at an urban level, there may be some useful learning for smaller developments, urban extensions and other projects
The report touches on issues that typically go beyond the concerns of landowners when entering into strategic land agreements with developers and promoters. It is not common, for example, to see promotion objectives touch upon matters of public health.
Whilst this should not be seen as something all landowners should be seeking, for those interested in legacy development (or simply where you may still be living in the community beyond the sale of the development land) questions of how a development might look and “work” could become increasingly important as we all look to deal with climate change and the general liveability of new developments.
“There is a move toward making the cities more for people: making them more livable, making them healthier, also making them carbon neutral, of course. So I think there is a general improvement under this direction,”