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Climate change: Merano’s strategy for a better quality of life

Newly planted trees create a pleasant urban climate in Merano. (c) Madeleine Rohrer

Trees instead of parking spaces and support for the population during hot spells – with a total of 19 measures like these, the city of Merano/I is countering the effects of climate change. Experts, interest groups and young people have worked together to develop the strategy.

Heat, droughts and extreme rainfall are already hitting people hard in cities like Merano. In cooperation with the Eurac research institute in Bolzano/I, Merano has developed concrete measures for adapting to climate change, intended to help improve the quality of life of the local population. The issue was discussed in focus groups by participants from various policy fields as well as interest groups and members of YPAC, the Youth Parliament of the Alpine Convention. “For us, adapting to climate change means that people here feel more comfortable, and the quality of life should improve as a result of the measures”, states Madeleine Rohrer, Environmental Councillor for Merano.

Increasing the quality of life

Cristina della Torre of Eurac Research supervised the project and is convinced: “Thanks to the various parties involved, we were able to take a great many interests into account”. This was a challenge, she says, but at the same time so many more people support the measures. For example, more trees will provide a cooler microclimate, as one tree will be planted for every two parking spaces. A campaign is underway to inform the general public about dealing with heatwaves. Younger people go shopping for older people and other risk groups – which in turn strengthens social cohesion in the population. In addition, the modernisation of its historic irrigation canals will protect Merano from flooding.

Merano’s “Action Plan for Energy and Climate” was awarded the South Tyrol 2019 Energy Prize, and the prize money of 2000 euros was donated by Merano to the climate protection project of a School.

 

Further information: www.gemeinde.meran.bz.it/de/Energieeffizienz_Meran_hatte_die_beste_Idee (de)

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