From Madrid to Berlin and Paris to Budapest, scientists and planners agree, trees, trees and yet more trees can help make Europe’s cities more comfortable – even survivable – over the coming years, as global heating strengthens its grip.
But concrete pavements, high-rise buildings, historical squares and underground car parks are a hostile environment for trees, and authorities are finding it hard to plant more. In fact, many EU cities are less green than they were a century ago.
“It’s a massive challenge,” said Christophe Najdovski, the deputy mayor for revegetation and green spaces on Paris city council. “We know with enough trees we can lower the city’s summer temperature by up to 8C. They’re basically natural air-conditioning. But planting them isn’t always easy.”
So, house people in a verdant suburbia where all have gardens. The trees will naturally arrive as if by magic.
And what is today’s insistence about urban planning? That none may have gardens because suburbia.