Cities are the front line in the battle to adapt to and thrive in a world of rising temperatures. GCCA, along with our partner C40: Cities of Climate Leadership, launched the Cool Cities Network to support a city-led agenda to understand, communicate about, and reduce excess urban heat. Together with CCN Lead City Washington DC, we convened 12 cities for two days of meetings and network planning on November 16th and 17th, 2015.
Participants included city officials from: Athens, Barcelona, Dubai, Durban, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto, and Washington DC. That is 4 of the 50 largest cities in the world by population, 7 of the 50 largest by GDP, and 11 are the largest or second largest city in their country. Together, they traveled more than 70,000 miles to attend the workshop.
The level of energy and engagement was incredible — these cities view excess urban heat as the critical component of adaptation and resilience and are excited to work with the CCN. Two key issues that came up repeatedly were the challenge of getting accurate, granular data and ways to properly value the full spectrum of benefits from cool and green infrastructure. CCN will be exploring these issues and several more in the coming year.
The agenda also included a lunch discussion series with World Bank climate finance expert Dr. Stephen Hammer and NRDC heat health expert Dr. Kim Knowlton. The participants also toured a District government building that has earned double LEED Platinum certification and a park that doubles as a multi-building storm water management facility.