Planners should be looking 200 years ahead to protect Belfast from climate crisis

By Shauna Corr on Belfast Live

‘There’s an idea that it won’t affect us here in this part of the world but of course it will’ says Fulbright scholar Nuala Flood.

Belfast planners should be looking 200 years into the future when designing how to protect our city from the climate crisis, says a Queen’s professor. Architecture and climate adaptation expert Nuala Flood spends her working life analysing how to protect ourselves from the extreme weather, overheating and flooded city centre that’s predicted. And her work on the subject has now gained international recognition with a Fulbright EPA Scholar Award.

Soon she’ll be leaving her colleagues at Queen’s University, Belfast City Council and Sustainable NI for New York’s Parsons School of Design. While there, she hopes to learn about how their infrastructure is designed with climate adaptation and communities in mind. But she plans to bring everything she learns back to Belfast.

We spoke to Nuala following her prestigious award about the challenges facing Belfast and how she hopes to help the city become the best it can be. She told Belfast Live: “Sometimes cities feel complete – it doesn’t feel complete, there’s work to be done and that leaves it as a kind of exciting place to study architecture and research the built environment.

“There’s so much potential, a really rich built heritage and quite beautiful surroundings in a valley with the lovely mountains in the back ground – but it needs work.”

Nuala, who’s also on the board of Sustainable NI, says “there’s definitely challenges” for Belfast in terms of adaptation to potential sea level rise.

“Flooding is going to be an issue in the city centre and there is going to potentially be overheating issues – but the real threats are extreme weather events and flooding,” she added.

Read the full story on Belfast Live here.