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Budapest takes heat mitigation measures

Budapest takes heat mitigation measures

The city government has revived its Hűsítő Budapest programme, setting up cooling islands and drinking fountains

As the first massive heatwave of this summer is sweeping over Europe, the Municipality of Budapest is taking measures to protect residents and guests from prolonged exposure to hot temperatures. Overheating is a pressing problem throughout the summer in this sprawling city deprived of mountains or large forests, with only the sluggish flow of the Danube offering some semblance of relief. 

Shading public spaces

Reviving the Hűsítő Budapest (Cooling Budapest) programme of last summer, the city government, together with FŐKERT Nonprofit Zrt., the company taking care of Budapest’s green spaces, has begun setting up cooling islands in busy places that will provide shade against extreme heat between 18 June and 15 September. The first such island, complete with planted vegetation, artificial sun-shield and benches where passers-by can take a rest, was created in Boráros Square, states a municipal press release. 

Shading public spaces in summer is among the steps that Budapest has set out over the next decade to mitigate the effects of climate change. Soon after assuming office after the local elections in 2019, the new city administration declared climate emergency and then adopted a new Budapest Climate Strategy

The city government is aware that the cooling islands are just a temporary solution to an acute situation, so its long-term goal is to shield public spaces with durable solutions. An example of this is Blaha Lujza Square, the sunniest public space in Budapest and one of last year’s cooling island beneficiaries, which will undergo extensive, permanent greening during its renovation.

Installing drinking fountains 

Another important element of the Hűsítő Budapest program is the provision of drinking water in public spaces. In addition to the 22 drinking fountains established last year, the Metropolitan Municipality, together with Budapest Waterworks, will increase their number by 12 in other parts of the city. Drinking water in Budapest is clean and healthy, the municipality assures, encouraging residents and tourists to refill their bottles instead of buying bottled water, which will not put a burden on their budget or the environment.

How to find the water points 

One of the new water points will be set up on the Pest embankment, on the pedestrian section between Margaret Bridge and Kossuth Square, which is closed to car traffic this summer due to reconstruction works. You can locate all drinking fountains using the BKK Courier application or the online map available at the municipal website. 

In addition to the above measures, the Metropolitan Municipality is actively working to redirect the heat mitigation activities traditionally carried out by public utilities, such as watering roads, parks and rails, to the residential areas most affected by the heat.

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