Hello Everyone! This past week I have been settling into my long-term project that I will conducting with Green Columbus this summer. Essentially, I am researching all things related to green spaces here in Columbus. Some of you may not know, but Columbus is one of the nation’s worst urban heat islands, which is a fancy title for a city is presumably hotter than its surrounding suburbs because it has minimal green space. The science starts to become heavy, but essentially the asphalt and concrete structures of cities (e.g. roofs of buildings, parking lots, and roads) absorb so much heat that it creates a “heat island” effect effectively making it hotter in the city. Since Columbus is one of the worst heat islands in America, there has been a call for change.
One of the best ways to decrease the urban heat island effect is to increase green spaces. Not only do green spaces have exponential social, environmental, and health related benefits; but they also can decrease the urban heat island effect by transforming vacant lots into green space and decreasing the amount of exposed asphalt and concrete in the city. I would say that the best way to decrease the urban heat island effect would be to increase the tree canopy within the city. By planting trees all around the city, the trees can physically cover some of the roads and sidewalks to decrease the urban heat island effect. In addition to physically decreasing the temperature of the city, trees have an abundance of social, health, and environmental benefits as well.
With that being said, my job is to create a report explaining the benefits of green spaces and identifying gaps in Columbus’ current method of transforming vacant lots into green spaces. So, I will be researching the various programs that other cities have in place to see where the City of Columbus can improve. In addition, I have been informationally interviewing a few people in the Columbus area who specialize in this field.
As of now, the project is going very well and I am very excited to continue working on it throughout the remainder of my time with Green Columbus. Hopefully this report can invoke change in some organizations around Columbus, so that the city can decrease the urban heat island effect.
Until next time,