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Mersey Forest experience helps inform African cities project

18 April 2013

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 An approach developed by The Mersey Forest is being used to inform how African cities can better plan their green infrastructure, to help them to adapt to climate change.

Dr Susannah Gill, a member of The Mersey Forest team, is working for the University of Manchester on the final stages of the CLUVA (Climate Change and Urban Vulnerability in Africa) research project.

The project focuses on five African cities – Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; Dar es Salaam in Tanzania; Douala in Cameroon; Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso; and Saint Louis in Senegal.


The research includes modelling climate change and the potential hazards in the cities, exploring the vulnerabilities to these hazards and resulting risks, and trying to find ways to improve the resilience of the cities to these through land use, planning, and governance. It is also helping to strengthen research capacity in Africa.

At a recent meeting of the researchers in Manchester, Susannah explained the approach to green infrastructure planning which has been developed by The Mersey Forest over the last eight years. This approach has previously been used in Liverpool to help identify areas where, for example, more or better green infrastructure may be needed.

The approach will be repeated in Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam, to link the existing green infrastructure of the cities, to the services it provides for the city (such as providing shade, evaporative cooling, and helping to reduce flooding), and to identify areas where these services may be especially needed in the city. This will then help to inform emerging Master Plans for the cities, and ongoing green infrastructure planning.

Susannah said: "It is an exciting opportunity to take the approaches we have been developing in The Mersey Forest and apply them in a vastly different context. As well as the challenges resulting from climate change, the African cities face a number of other challenges such as very rapid population growth, poverty and pollution.

"It is great to be involved at this stage of the project, as many of the research findings begin to inform the development of policies that will impact on the way that African cities are planned and increase the resilience of really vulnerable communities to climate change."

CLUVA is funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme. 13 different institutions are involved: Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, AMRA Scarl in Itlay, Ardhi University in Tanzania, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici Scarl in Italy, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung in Germany, Københavns Universitet in Denmark, Norsk Institutt for By- Og Regionforskning in Norway, Technische Universität München in Germany,

Université de Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Université de Yaoundé in Cameroon, Université Gaston Berger de Saint Louis in Senegal, and The University of Manchester in the UK.

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