ACCESS TO URBAN COOL AND GREEN SPACES FOR OLD ADULTS IN GOTHENBURG – A GIS-BASED ANALYSIS OF RADIANT HEAT
Old adults are particularly vulnerable against heat stress. Considering the ageing society and the projected increase of heat events, planning for heat-resilient urban environments for old adults will become increasingly important. As the city of Gothenburg aims to provide access to cool islands to its citizens, the thermal conditions for old adults in the city have been analyzed and the access of old adults to cool and green spaces has been assessed in this study. The QGIS tool SOLWEIG has been used to model mean radiant temperature distribution in the city, which is a suitable indicator for human heat stress. A district-wise analysis of these outputs as well as vegetation and building characteristics has been conducted. The results demonstrate that there is no considerable variation in average thermal risk conditions for different district-wise densities of old adults. The average distance to urban cool and green spaces is slightly higher in districts with very high densities of old adults than in districts with low density of old adults. Five hotspot areas have been identified where many old adults are living and the distance to cool and green spaces is particularly high. The availability of tree cover and canopy volume has been found to have direct influence on risk-minimizing conditions for old adults. Changing the canopy cover in an area has a stronger effect on thermal conditions compared to changing canopy volume. An influence of urban geometry is observable as well, especially in dense areas with little vegetation around the city centre. Derived recommendations for urban planners include reaching a higher tree cover in districts with little vegetation. However, in a nordic setting, this must be carefully elaborated due to pronounced cool stress conditions in the winter.