Cooling the city through urban forests

Researchers, City of Vancouver experiment with tree-planting practices to lower the temperature of microclimates.

More than 700 people in British Columbia died during the 2021 heatwave. A 2023 study by the Canadian Climate Institute states extreme heat in B.C. could kill some 1,370 people and send 6,000 to hospital each year by 2030 unless substantial investments are made to reduce risks.

Dense urban areas can become especially hot during heatwaves. One way to reduce this heat island effect is by adding green spaces and shade from trees. Not every tree or park has the same cooling effect though. With funding from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solution, the Cooling with Trees: Urban Tree Solutions for Tempering Climate Extremes project is experimenting with soil and tree-planting practices to maximize cooling potential. The City of Vancouver plans to use the information from this project to increase cooling offered by city trees. 

Researchers: Caterina Valeo 

Collaborating Organizations: University of Victoria, University of Calgary, City of Vancouver