Topic 3 Health-led responses for adapting to climate change

Case study: LEAFSKIN® Green Structure Shade

Name the Protagonist:

Ayuntamiento de Valladolid.

Agencia de Innovación y Desarrollo Económico (Spain)

What is their Story?

In recent years, the city of Valladolid (Spain) has implemented several actions to adapt to climate change, particularly in terms of adaptation to high temperatures, a very common situation in Valladolid, especially in the summer months, with impacts on human health.

In this context, it has developed the LEAFSKIN® Shade, an ultralight green roof structure that can be mounted over pedestrianised streets or squares, aiming to create shadow areas in urban spaces. The LEAFSKYN® ultralight green roof structure can be installed on any street or pedestrian square and is particularly suitable for use in areas of high urban density.

The system was implemented in two pedestrian access streets (Calle Zuñiga and Calle Sta. Maria), in a length of about 390 m. Both streets end in squares where there are kiosks that had no use and were used as space for irrigation facilities.

The system consists of three main elements:

  • Facilities room, an unused newspaper kiosk, where the irrigation system machines are installed. From this kiosk, an irrigation pipe goes out to the gutters, also having a conduit that allows the excess water to return to it.
  • Aluminium gutters, where the water pipes and an electric cable are installed, and each green textile structure that allows shade has two pipes that connect to the main one in this gutter.
  • Triangular-shaped PVC textile structure stretched between the façade of buildings, 5 to 7 metres above the street, on which a thin layer of vegetation grows (vines and fast-growing climbing plants adapted to climatic conditions). Over this textile structure, an inert substrate is installed, covered with seeds that germinate and grow in the structure.

Link to the Case Study:

Why is this a Good Example to Follow?

The LEAFSKIN® Green Structure Shade is an urban shading project, a type of action for adapting to climate change that has been increasingly used in cities and urban areas around the world, especially in the face of regular and increasingly frequent situations of high temperatures and/or an increase in extreme heat wave events, which are very damaging to human health.

The project presents several potential positive impacts or benefits, allowing the reduction of temperatures in these streets and the surrounding area, especially in summer; improving air quality, as it is a structure where vegetation grows; acting as an acoustic shield; contributing to increase commercial activity, of great importance in these two streets, as well as the well-being of those who frequent them. It also enhances the real estate value of their properties.

This is also a project that can be easily replicated in other cities, under various governance models, namely:

  • Implementation and maintenance by the respective municipality.
  • Implementation and maintenance by private owners (street trading and/or residents);
  • Implementation by the municipality and private maintenance (run by street traders and/or people living on the street).

The solution allows advertising to be placed in the background of the infrastructure, enabling additional financial support. This means that implementation and maintenance costs can be partially or even fully covered.

How can you use this Case Study to Adapt to Climate Change?

This is a good example of how public policies promoting climate action can help individuals take concrete measures to find solutions to climate change by involving, besides citizens, all public and private stakeholders in a local community. As you have seen, it does not necessarily have to be municipalities responsibility.

These kinds of nature-based climate adaptation solutions can also be implemented in our homes or in our buildings. For example, we can install a green roof or a green wall to improve the thermal comfort of our buildings or of our single-family house.

This case study is also inspiring to encourage our participation in local planning processes, demanding that political and technical decision makers take into consideration the adoption of nature-based solutions for the environmental qualification of our urban spaces and thus improve our health.

What impact has this case study example achieved?

This project reveals the importance of the involvement of the various stakeholders at the local community level and how individuals can promote and realise climate action on a local scale, with this type of intervention contributing to the reduction of the heat island effect, helping to regulate the local climate.


Self-reflection questions

  • Question 1 – How can projects based on nature-based climate adaptation solutions contribute to improving human health?
  • Question 2 – What other adaptation solutions (such as infrastructure or technologies) could be used to reduce impacts on human health?
  • Question 3 – Do you think that in your region this type of action can be implemented?

Case study: Video

Debriefing Questions (after the video)

Q No.Questions
Question 1:How can human health be affected by climate hazards?
Question 2:What kind of actions can be taken to reduce the current and future impacts of climate change on human health?
Question 3:What are the advantages of using nature-based solutions to adapt streets and our homes to high temperatures and heat waves?