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Investing the potential for green spaces to reduce the heat island effect in the UK and China

This project is funded by Innovate UK, in collaboration with VRM Tech, the University of Hull, and academic partners in Shanghai. The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, in which cities become warmer than their surrounding green space, is a increasing problem. Major cities such and London and Shanghai are particularly suffering from the UHI effect and, during hot periods, these cities experience increased energy consumption, high levels of pollutants and negative consequences on resident health. The principal cause of the UHI effect is the replacing of green space with buildings, roads, tarmac etc. A potential mitigating intervention is therefore to build green spaces and/or trees within your city. However, where and how to place your green assets is a complex problem. A park surrounded by skyscrapers may have less effect than one surrounding by low-level buildings. In addition, building trees in certain areas may cause them to be under stress and release VOCs, which could counter-productively increase levels of pollution. The GIAUrban project is aimed at understanding the effect that parks and trees have on the local environment. This will be achieved via a combination of open data, and data obtained by a bespoke drone-mounted hyperspectral camera. The knowledge gained during this project will be used by VRMTech to create a commercial tool that allows planners to see the effect building green spaces is likely to have.

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