A street in Alcala de Henares, Source: Depositphotos

Spanish city will fight the heat with mobile 'climatic islands'

Spanish city will fight the heat with mobile 'climatic islands'

An innovative solution for urban areas that cannot be greenified due to regulatory constraints

The term climate shelter has entered into vogue in recent years given the increasingly severe impact of heatwaves in countries like Spain. It’s no surprise therefore that a city in that country – Alcala de Henares – has proposed a twist on that solution called “climatic islands”, which in essence would represent mobile climate shelters.

These modern Climate Islands are plant-based, self-stable and mobile stations that will provide up to 50 metres of shade in the areas with the least vegetation and will be equipped with sensors to analyse temperature, humidity and air quality at all times, ensuring self-management and efficiency in irrigation. said Isabel Ruiz Maldonado, the First Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Tourism in that city.

These climate stations will be connected to and operated by the Smart Tourism Centre of Alcala de Henares and are meant as a response to a rising demand on the part of residents and visitors to do something to make the historic area of the city habitable even in the throes of intense summers.

Rethinking the idea of street furniture

For those who don’t know, Alcala de Henares is a historic city located some 100 kilometres east of Madrid. It’s popularly associated with Complutense University, one of the oldest universities in the world, now located in the Spanish capital. It is also famous for being the birthplace of Renaissance writer Miguel de Cervantes - you may think of it as something like the Spanish version of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Greenifying its squares therefore is not really a possibility in its historic core, which is protected by UNESCO. The plan, therefore, is to place said ‘climatic islands’ on Plaza de los Santos Niños, a treeless square in that part of the town, as a way of swiftly and efficiently turning a heat island into a climate refuge.

The climate islands are part of Alcala de Henares’ Tourism Sustainability Plan and count with a budget of 400,000 euros. It's not clear, however, when the 'climate islands' will be developed and put into operation.



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