Impact project: risk dialogue based on heat measurements by residents
As yet, residents have hardly been playing any role in risk dialogues. Most such dialogues are being conducted with professionals, on the basis of maps and models. By contacting residents or having them conduct measurements of their own, information from the very capillaries of the city can be incorporated into risk dialogues.
Actually, the fact that residents have hardly been involved in risk dialogues on heat is rather odd, because residents have first-hand experience of hot locations in the city and of the impact that heat has. They are, as it were, the ultimate graduators and thus can tell which measures are effective in combating heat.
For that reason, the risk dialogue in the Amersfoort Schothorst neighbourhood has been conducted on the basis of a bottom up approach for more than a year (summer of 2018 through summer of 2019). Why this neighbourhood? Because in the years ahead, the municipality will be embarking on climate-proofing this neighbourhood.
The project has involved the following:
- Real temperature measurements have been conducted by local residents participating in the Meet je stad [Measure Your City] citizens science project. These measurements have been analysed;
- During hot days, many interviews were held with residents: How does heat affect the Schothorst neighbourhood? How does that impact you? What do you do to cool off during hot days?
- Lessons have been learned and tips have been formulated for professionals working on heat resilience, regarding the ways in which measurements by citizens and interviews with residents can foster a risk dialogue on heat. These tips have been compiled in the brochure entitled Risicodialoog hitte – maar dan net even anders: met bewoners en van onderaf (pdf, 2.8 MB),
‘Fortunately, my garden faces north, so the heat doesn’t bother me.’ – Amersfoort resident
Lessons to be learned
Information from the capillaries, i.e., conducting interviews with residents and performing local measurements, is important to supplement rough maps and model studies. This creates a more complete picture of the various aspects of heat stress in the city. The data helps to initiate a discussion on what exactly heat stress is, and on who defines that. In some cases, high temperature measurements will not correspond to the expectations regarding the impact of heat.
In Amersfoort, the data and particularly the measurement data has generated new insights among the municipal staff involved. Neighbourhoods that were assumed to be relatively hot turned out not to be. Residents did, however, avoid paved areas during the heat. Furthermore, the heat island effect was found to be rather minor.