Project HUGSI (Husqvarna Urban Green Space Index) was recently launched by Husqvarna, the fastest outdoor tool manufacturer. Thanks to the latest digital technology and cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), it is able to collect specific data from around the world. Satellite photography of the project processes artificial intelligence and the result is an evaluation of urban greenery.
The ranking now includes 155 cities from sixty countries. Gradually, more metropolises should be added. For example, Bratislava does not figure on the index yet. Prague finished in 13th place in the ranking, to overtake even Vienna, which is nevertheless often given as a model for the domestic capital.
According to the index, Prague covers 56 percent of urban greenery. For one resident, a green space of 179.8 square meters will come. 28 percent of Prague is planted with trees, grassy areas and then cuts 27 percent of urban space. In terms of vegetation health, which the index measures based on light absorption, Prague gained 0.74 on a scale from zero to one.
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The question is why Prague ranked so well in the rankings. A possible reason can be found in the character of Prague housing estates, which are perfect for symbiosis with green areas. This emerged, for example, from a recent survey ČTK with experts from real estate companies. According to them, in the 70’s and 80’s, the construction of prefabricated houses with forest parks and similar places to live simply counts. Since then, greens have been working to take on strong roots.
“The housing estate looked crazy until recently. When people moved to blocks of flats in the 1980s, the housing estate was littered with remnants of concrete. Over time, the space has grown into relatively nice greenery, because people are used to taking care of the places where they live, “comments Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček, who is in charge of the environmental agenda at the municipality. “Every place within walking distance there is a park, greenery and a playground,” he adds. Therefore, the good placement of Prague in the index does not surprise him in any way.
Over the last twenty years, the area of public greenery has increased by more than 300 hectares, which is an absolutely unique reserve for the conditions of European capitals.
Vít Hofman spokesman for the City of Prague
A million trees
Moreover, more greenery is one of the main topics of the current leadership of Prague, led by Zdeněk Hřib (for Pirates). Two years ago, for example, the municipality undertook to plant a million trees in Prague in eight years. According to Hlubuček, they have not yet managed to plant about 300,000. According to the deputy, completely new forests are also being created in Prague, for example in Satalice, Běchovice or Na Musile.
“Prague has ‘inherited’ some important green areas from the past, but in addition to above-standard care for existing global important green areas, it has also been systematically working on the development and establishment of new green areas for a long time, both on originally agricultural land and unmaintained areas,” he says. Vít Hofman, a spokesman for the municipality.
“Over the last twenty years, the area of public greenery has increased by more than 300 hectares, which is an absolutely unique reservation for the conditions of European capitals. In addition, this trend is still continuing, so another 35 hectares are currently being developed, ”says Hofman.
Europe and North America are balancing this
According to the HUGSI index, the greenest city in the world is the American city of Charlotte in North Carolina. Vilnius, Lithuania, is leading Europe again. On the contrary, in terms of greenery, the worst off is the capital of Peru, Lima, which did not receive a single point in the final evaluation of the index. Prague, on the other hand, gained 73.04 points out of a hundred impossible.
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As part of its research and data collection, HUGSI raises the question of whether the world remains greener due to climate appeals. The answer is not yet. From a global perspective, there was a slight year-on-year withdrawal of urban greenery in 2019, by about 0.01 percent.
The eradication of green spaces is mainly due to the extensive development of cities in Central and East Asia, writes Husqvarna. The development of Asian agglomerations cut from the fastest urban greenery during 2019 by approximately 52 square meters. On the other hand, the authors of the index observe a positive development in Europe and North America, where 38 of today’s square urban vegetation have been added. On a global scale, the development is thus being balanced.
Living in a green city has several benefits. It is better able to stay above powdered rainwater, noise levels must be increased, biodiversity is strengthened and people can breathe better. Probably the main advantage, however, must be observed in the temperature conditions of the city. In densely populated areas, so-called heat islands are formed, whose nominal values in degrees Celsius are higher than in the surrounding landscape.
Efficient heat islands are caused by all heat producers in the city. These include buildings, vehicles, industrial activities but also the residents themselves. The heat must then be in a confined space between the buildings. In the summer months, the asphalt can heat up to over fifty degrees Celsius. The unbearable heat is prevented by vegetation, as the surface is cooled by the evaporation of water from trees and other plants.
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If humanity fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures in metropolises will rise by more than four percent by the end of this century, World Economic Forum. In addition, the models quoted by the forum say that it will increase the so-called heat index even faster than normal air temperature. It tells how the human body feels outside temperature.
The inhabitants of the domestic capital can thus experience a subtropical climate in the following periods. According to scientists from Crowther Laboratories in Zurich there will be similar climatic conditions in Prague in 2050 as are now in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.