Adapting Cities for Climate Change: The Role of the Green Infrastructure
The urban environment has distinctive biophysical features in relation to surrounding rural areas. These include an altered energy exchange creating an urban heat island, and changes to hydrology such as increased surface runoff of rainwater. Such changes are, in part, a result of the altered surface cover of the urban area. For example less vegetated surfaces lead to a decrease in evaporative cooling, whilst an increase in surface sealing results in increased surface runoff. Climate change will amplify these distinctive features. This paper explores the important role that the green infrastructure, i.e. the greenspace network, of a city can play in adapting for climate change. It uses the conurbation of Greater Manchester as a case study site. The paper presents output from energy exchange and hydrological models showing surface temperature and surface runoff in relation to the green infrastructure under current and future climate scenarios. The implications for an adaptation strategy to climate change in the urban environment are discussed.