Techniques, materials and processes for construction and design
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Full concept/idea title
ClimateHood creates participatory urban design solutions as a quick win response to heat weaves
ClimateHood is addressing the challenge of more frequent and severe heat waves harming vulnerable populations in Europe’s urban centers by introducing Cooling Corners: Compact public spaces which are transformed into islands of low heat exposure, co-created by the inhabitants with modular urban design elements, where pedestrians can take a rest and refresh to prevent heat stroke and dehydration.
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
Corner of Víg and Bérkocsis streets
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
With our initiative “ClimateHood”, our aim is to create sustainable and just urban places to counteract the urban heat island effect in Europe’s urban centers.
Climate change does not affect everyone equally, vulnerable groups suffer disproportionately from its impacts. Spatial and social justice is therefore especially important to us. We find it critical to tackle the growing injustice in urban areas and thereby contribute to increasing the resilience of vulnerable populations.
Our concept targets two main challenges of cities in the 21st century: Growing social inequality and climate change impacts. We confront the threat of more frequent and severe heat waves by combining systemic adaptation and mitigation measures at the local level. Meanwhile, our concept is based upon community engagement and collaboration, which empowers disadvantaged groups to regain the transformative potential of their neighborhoods and contribute to a fairer city.
Therefore, we facilitate the co-design and construction of so-called “Cooling Corners”, green refreshing points in strategic points of densely populated neighborhoods which show a low heat resilience. The concept differs from an urban garden or park in many aspects: it is not a huge urban space to pass entire afternoons. It is rather a small, compact space that can be easily constructed and can appear as a quick-win response given to the urgent challenge of heat wave mitigation in cities.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
Our concept incorporates sustainability in various dimensions. First of all, the solution we propose is ecologically sustainable, in terms of tackling climate change through adaptation and mitigation at the same time. Recurrent urban heat waves are a major threat for European cities and are projected to increase in frequency and severity in the near future. During heat waves, the Cooling Corners contribute to a cooler environment for the city's inhabitants, which means they can adapt better to the heat. On the other hand, the plants and trees set up in the Corners capture emissions, which reduces the carbon footprint of the city and leads to better air quality.
Next to that, the Cooling Corners will be located in low-income areas where many residents are more vulnerable to heat impacts, meaning that the Corners also contribute to higher equity and social sustainability. As explained above, climate change impacts are unevenly distributed, and the Cooling Corners will provide a response for preventing severe heat impacts for the most vulnerable.
On top of that, our concept is even economically sustainable: The impacts of heat waves on human health are immense and costs for the health care systems will tremendously increase with climate change and an aging European population. The Cooling Corners reduce these health costs by preventing heat-related conditions like strokes and dehydration. At the same time, the Corners are modular and can be implemented on a low budget, while the involvement of the city dwellers also increases the acceptance of the places and will therefore decrease maintenance costs in the long run.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
Just as the original Bauhaus evolved in the 20th century with lightweight and natural materials and minimalistic design, the Cooling Corners will make use of simple and puristic materials like wood, concrete, sand, steel and fabric. This sets the ground for a robust and timeless urban design in a modular fashion. Many of these materials also have a cooling effect itself - light colours will enhance this effect by reflecting more sunlight than absorbing.
The philosophy of Bauhaus architects and designers was to improve the living conditions of people through art and design. This holistic approach is also translated to the Cooling Corners. Next to the health benefits resulting from the Corners, our design concept also demonstrates that urban design solutions should not be a privilege for the better-off. Implementing urban design elements in deprived areas does not necessarily require large amounts of money, even small-scale interventions like the Cooling Corners can initiate change and point out that everyone is entitled to a livable environment.
Another key aspect of our concept is user-centric design. Every Cooling Corner will be designed and constructed in co-involvement of the stakeholders in the neighbourhood. This ensures that the elements of the Corner are aligned with its surroundings and serve the needs of the users. Inhabitants are invited to interact with their environment and feel as part of it.
Last but not least, through the Cooling Corners, the threat of heat waves and the need for urban design to make changes gains visibility. Heat and heat impacts are often not tangible, and after a heat wave, the severeness of the impacts is easily forgotten. Our net of Cooling Corners will be a constant reminder of the threat of climate change and heat to the public, raising the sensibility for the topic and calling for further action on heat mitigation in cities.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
The ClimateHood team works on the diminution of the gap between different social groups to ensure social/spatial equality. We believe everyone has the right to live with dignity, not exclusively the stable, non-risk groups have to be able to adapt to climate change impacts. With the help of the project we are aiming to create inclusive, decent living conditions and heat-resilient neighbourhoods for a just city. Throughout ClimateHood, vulnerable groups (such as low-income households, elderly people, refugees, ethnic and national minorities, women, disabled persons, persons with chronic health conditions) are not just aimed to suffer less from climate change impacts, but also to participate in urban design solutions, moreover, to be able to build community, think about the neighbourhood’s future together. A participatory approach is crucial, we build on our target groups’ insights, willingness and ability to undertake a collaborative designing process. That side of the concept contributes to the accessibility to urban design solutions for the vulnerable groups too.
Cooling Corners are aimed to engage not just the citizens from the neighborhood, but also other local stakeholders, such as non-profit organizations, local stores, and public institutions. These sites might appear as possible refreshing sites on the Google Maps synchronized map, where all the Cooling Corners are marked and easily researchable.
Co-production processes are used in order to include citizens in urban transformation, with the aim of boosting inclusion and innovation. However, from previous experiences on co-production in Józsefváros, Budapest, the process definitely has its limits when coping with inequalities. For that reason, the organization of the co-production process also has to fit to and go hand in hand with the characteristics and the maturity of the society.
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
The Cooling Corners by ClimateHood, in accordance with the New European Bauhaus initiative, are co-designed and co-created urban spaces that are based on sustainability, creativity and social innovation. Our concept provides a unique approach of small-scale and low-cost urban design interventions for mitigating pressing heat impacts.
Cities will need to make tremendous changes to conquer the impacts of climate change, which will be a central challenge throughout the 21st century. However, this change requires time, sometimes years or decades. However, climate change impacts are already visible today and become constantly more pressing. The Cooling Corners present a solution which can be implemented within several weeks. Generally speaking, the corners therefore represent a “quick win” response towards tackling urban heat waves.
The concept differs from being just a “green space” through integrating modules constructed with materials giving shade and a possibility for a small rest. The functionality of the Corners is thereby explicitly aligned for the needs of pedestrians during heat. The variety of possible modules a Cooling Corner can exist allows for the individual adjustment of the concept to the existing infrastructure.
All in all, the design of the Cooling Corners is based on compactness, simplicity, minimalism, and community-driven construction. The method is replicable and scalable and adapts to the dwellers of the neighborhood, who know the needs of the community best.
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
For further development we have chosen Budapest as a pilot city, highlighting that heat weaves impose an enormous burden not just on the South but on Central Europe too. It's no longer a case of breaking a sweat: sustained high temperatures are literally life-threatening, with five heatwaves in 2015 claiming 1800 lives in Hungary.
Józsefváros, one of the most deprived neighborhoods in Budapest can be described by the lowest green surface intensity, the highest population density and temperature in summer days. The ClimateHood pilot version is designed in the corner of Víg and Bérkocsis street, as a strategic point given by the proximity of József Boulevard and Rákóczi téri Vásárcsarnok (Market hall), high urban density, and the vulnerability of the households nearby.
In preparation for the implementation of the pilot version, we are already conducting interviews with the affected people in the neighborhood of Józsefváros. Addressing strategic stakeholders helps us to engage the local community and neighbours in a participatory process to design each Corner with features adjusted for each location. According to the plans, the first Cooling Corner will be implemented before the summer of 2022.
The following on-site implementation will go hand in hand with the online mapping of the Cooling Corners, so one can check out the nearest Corner during the next heat wave. Additionally, the map will also show publicly available spaces with existing refreshment points like parks, public libraries, etc. This increases the impact of the newly implemented Cooling Corners. Subsequently to this first cycle of Cooling Corners, the lessons learned are consolidated and its Do’s and Don’ts are condensed in a toolkit. This toolkit will provide sufficient information on the components of a Cooling Corner and the participatory process to its implementation in other cities and contexts. This will especially enhance the scalability of the concept and its impact in
III. UPLOAD PICTURES
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.
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