July 26, 2021

An oasis in the city to combat high temperatures | Catalonia

Area to reduce heat in the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona.Andrea Figueras

tThe Generalitat has set up 162 spaces in Barcelona to serve as a refuge where citizens can alleviate the high summer temperatures. The cooling points are thus doubled compared to 2020. These areas will be open from June 15 to September 15 throughout the day, while in the previous season they were only active on days in which a wave of hot.

“The emergency phase will come into effect from a temperature equal to or greater than 33 degrees, but the prevention phase will be activated throughout the summer season,” said Laura Pérez, lieutenant of Mayor of Barcelona for Social Rights, Global Justice, Feminisms and LGTBI. The designated locations will be equipped with hydration points and shady places, such as the Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, ​​which has equipped the main lobby for this function. The refuge is signposted on the street and at the door of the museum for anyone who wants to cool off. Libraries, sports complexes and local facilities are added to this space throughout the city. In them there will be the presence of personnel who inform and assist in the event of possible heat stroke.

The City Council, in cooperation with educational entities, has enabled eleven schools in the city so that these centers have a better thermal condition that serves to adapt them to high temperatures and to become a climatic refuge for the population during the summer months, that there are no classes. This is the case of the Cervantes de Ciutat Vella school, which, in collaboration with the City Council and the European Commission, has carried out a reform that includes the increase of hydration points such as fountains or sprinklers, the incorporation of vegetation and the reform of the building. Vertical gardens have been added in the courtyard and a cross ventilation channel has been opened that allows the temperature of the classrooms to be lowered.

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The students of the Cervantes school participated in the project through proposals to improve the space, most of which were based on the incorporation of more green. The tutor of the driving group, Leonor Giménez, explains that “it has been a notable improvement”, although she admitted that they expected more renovations. Despite this, she is “very satisfied” with the result and with the process, because the project “has had a very important pedagogical aspect that has made it possible to emphasize the awareness of students about climate change”.

Among the actions that will be carried out following the guidelines of the action protocol against heat are telematic assistance and home care for people who require it, especially the elderly. According to the figures given by the deputy mayor, an average of 150 people — 70% of them women — die each year due to high temperatures, so “it is important to monitor the cases susceptible to a stroke. heat ”, which also includes children and people with chronic diseases.

The intensification of measures against heat also responds to the desire to have “a city that can face the challenges posed by climate change,” valued the Councilor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition, Eloi Badia. Laura Pérez pointed out that the environmental threat is a “multiplier of inequalities, so it is necessary to rethink the city’s services and ensure that the policies that are implemented take into account the most vulnerable groups.” The protocol includes the transfer to climatic shelters of people living in poverty who live on the street or who do not have optimal cooling in their homes.