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Climate-proofing cities

A lack of urban greenspace can lead to problems such as urban hotspots and flooding.

A team of scientists led by Professor Roland Ennos undertook a research project that has led to the development of accessible and easy-to-use tools that help planners to intelligently design urban greenspace.

This has informed policies on a local, national, and international scale.

Professor Ennos and his colleagues have demonstrated just how important trees can be for improving the quality of city living.

Their research shows that trees reduce surface runoff by 60% in rain storms. In hot weather, they have shown that trees can cool surfaces by up to 20°C.

Furthermore, the team have proved that, to maximise growth rate and cooling properties, trees should be planted in special structural soils.

This research has had many positive impacts. Community forests across the globe have altered their planting practices.

An online tool for assessing the effects of trees on adapting towns and cities to climate change has been developed, and is accessed by more than 350 organisations a year, often as far away as Japan and Brazil.

Novel mapping tools created by the Manchester group have also had an international impact, including a role in the city masterplan for Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Associated organisations

"The ongoing research of The University of Manchester into green infrastructure and the associated social benefits is invaluable to Red Rose Forest and its partners in helping us to deliver environments that are sustainable, healthy and resilient to our changing climate."

Tony Hothersall / Director, Manchester City of Trees [formerly Forest Director at Red Rose Forest]