Barcelona being a compact city of 1.6 million inhabitants with a hot and humid climate in the warm period of the year, is exposed to excessive heat burden which is expected to increase in the following years due to the increased frequency and intensity of heatwaves as a result of climate change.
Mitigating heat is important for the wellbeing of the residents, for improving social cohesion within the city as well as safeguarding the local economy and jobs taken that they depend on tourism, which in turn may be adversely impacted by climate change.
The GBG_AS2C project proposes an innovative adaptation plan to climate change through the conversion of schoolyards to climate shelters with a mix of blue (incorporation of water points of different types in the courtyards), green (more shadow spaces and greenery in the courtyards), and gray (interventions on the buildings and use of permeable materials) measures.
The project is implemented in the context of Barcelona’s Climate Plan, which promotes the transformation of communal spaces as a climate change tackling strategy. In its general perspective, it is considered an emerging green sector, taken that it has developed a new market on climate-based urban design and planning as well as green constructions at the neighborhood scale. Furthermore, it promotes the use of Climate-friendly materials and energy efficiency techniques at the building scale, in view of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.
The project has a strong pillar on urban health, by means of reducing the concentrations of air pollutants and improving thermal comfort both indoor and outdoor. To this end, the pathway of Barcelona towards climate neutrality is enhanced, whereas the dispersion of the Climate Shelters to all districts of the city, and most importantly to deprived ones, supports just transition.
The project is linked to the climate change adaptation plan of the City of Barcelona and is based on a participatory process for selecting the measures to be applied per Climate Shelter, with close attention given to the spatial environmental, climatic, urban, and social characteristics of Barcelona
The output of the project so far, is a network of 30 Climate Shelters dispersed all over the city, a fact that is a strong asset for adapting to climate change in terms of excess heat. Furthermore, the project has resulted in a new municipal approach for urban space interventions and green constructions as well as to new governance practices.