Climate-Resilient Urban Design: Hot Concrete Deserts –

Climate-Resilient Urban Design: Hot Concrete Deserts -

Construction Minister Klara Geywitz wants to support cities in protecting themselves from extreme weather. Her ministry also takes money in hand for this.

An elderly woman drinks water from a glass.

The measures also include help to protect people in need of care from the heat Photo: Jana Bauch/dpa

BERLIN taz | Many parks in Germany currently resemble a dry steppe. And on some summer days the streets turn into hot concrete deserts. Minister of Construction Klara Geywitz (SPD) announced on Monday that cities and communities would be made more resilient to the consequences of rising heat and more severe weather events. By 2025, the Ministry of Construction plans to invest 176 million euros in a nationwide program that “Climate resilience” of cities and improve communities.

The measures in the support package also include help to protect older people and people in need of care from the heat. Because they often spend a lot of time in their apartments compared to other people, “we also have to ensure that the apartments are well insulated with a renovation grant,” said Geywitz when the program was presented in Potsdam.

Also new is the simultaneous announcement by the Minister of Construction to protect the homeless in extreme temperatures in summer. The government is currently developing a “national action plan” for this.

A few days ago, Berlin was the first federal state to launch a project to help the homeless with heat. Since Monday, homeless people in the Schöneberg district have been able to cool off, shower, get sunscreen or a hat.

An initiative welcomes the plans

So far, the main focus of the funding package for the “Adaptation of Urban Spaces to Climate Change”, which has been running since 2020, has been primarily on climate-friendly urban development. This should continue to be the case: “When districts are renovated or newly built, fresh air corridors, parks and rivers are part of it,” said Geywitz. According to the ministry, the total funding for the program is now 467 million euros.

Cities and municipalities can apply to the federal government for funding for projects “that benefit climate protection and the adaptation of urban areas to climate change” until autumn. The federal government then assumes up to 85 percent of the eligible costs. The minimum amount of funding requested is currently 1 million euros.

The SPD minister also said to the television channels RTL and n-tv that the construction of new parks, artificial rivers or other green spaces could reduce the space for parking spaces in cities: “Such a car actually takes up a lot of space, which then others lack . As a result, we also have to rethink our mobility concepts.”

Numerous cities do not have a contact person for questions about heat protection

Funding programs should create incentives

The most recent demands of the German Medical Association and the Marburg Association show how urgent the federal government’s help for the municipalities is when it comes to heat prevention. Both publicly spoke out in favor of a national heat protection plan. The federal government rejected the demands and emphasized that the heat aid was “primarily a task for the municipalities”. However, many municipalities do not have a contact person for questions about heat protection, let alone a protection concept for particularly high temperatures.

Incentives from the federal government are therefore all the more important, a spokesman for the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) told the taz. It makes sense that the funding program should encourage cities and municipalities to deal more intensively with the consequences of the climate crisis.

The measures in the support package also include help to protect older people and people in need of care from the heat.

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