Botanic Gardens: Researchers and residents collaborate on climate

A playing field in Belfast will soon see kitchen gardeners and climate scientists working together.

Plots have been fenced off at at Lower Botanic Gardens to allow for research, horticulture and community gardens, with a focus on climate initiatives. The project follows a funding award from the Horizon 2020 EU UPSURGE project, and will see five European cities test nature-based solutions that focus on air pollution alleviation and climate neutrality.

The primary goal of UPSURGE is to build the EU Regenerative Urban Lighthouse – a reference framework demonstrating how tested and verified solutions can be implemented to improve the many problems faced by urban landscapes. The European partners involved include universities and municipal authorities in Maribor, Slovenia; Budapest, Hungary; Katowice, Poland and Breda, in the Netherlands.

The Botanic project is jointly led by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Belfast City Council’s climate unit. “UPSURGE is the response to the challenges faced by these five cities who are working together to decrease the impacts of climate change in our urban environments,” QUB project lead Prof Jennifer McKinley said.

“Nature-based solutions need to be adaptable to the different types of climates,” Prof McKinley added. “Urban environments that are more cement, you get these heat islands, so having this sort of [green] area within a city helps to cool down residential land around it.”

UPSURGE extends through to 2025 but Prof McKinley is confident it will remain a sustainable project for south Belfast.

Read the full article by BBC News here.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash