Climate Change and Heat Island Effect: New Taipei's Story
Adapting to Climate Change and Mitigating the Urban Heat Island Effect
Shaping New Taipei City as a Healthy and Sustainable City
Rapid urbanization in New Taipei City has led to an increasingly high land use density, which in turn intensifies the urban heat island (UHI) effect in the Taipei Basin. New Taipei City’s Sanchong District, Luzhou District, and Zhonghe District are most significantly affected by the UHI effect. Therefore, the Urban and Rural Development Department, New Taipei City, launched the “Urban Heat Island Mitigation Plan for Core Metropolitan Areas” to reduce temperatures and alleviate the UHI effect.
The latest domestic studies have confirmed that the suicide rate of elders above 65 years of age increases concurrently with an escalation of the UHI effect in metropolitan areas. In other words, aside from having significant impacts on the environment, the UHI effect also creates substantial economic and social challenges.
Greenification and improving water-holding capacity are recognized internationally as the most comment approaches to mitigating the UHI effect. Thus, the New Taipei City government launched the “New Taipei City Green Home Program” in 2011 and has since completed simple greenification projects on approximately 170 hectares of vacant public land across 740 different sites, the majority of which are located in Sanchong District, Luzhou District, and Zhonghe District. In the “Enforcement Rules for New Taipei City Under the Urban Planning Law,” which was promulgated by the New Taipei City Government in 2014, the concepts of energy conservation and carbon reduction, greenification and water-holding capacity, and public rewards were introduced. For example, development projects in core metropolitan areas to the north and south of Dahan River are required to provide green rooftops and vertical greening, as well as spaces designed for elders and children. By doing so, green lands can be preserved and temperature rises mitigated. Furthermore, residents are encouraged to leave the house and exercise in the community, which benefits both physical and mental health.
In addition, the Urban and Rural Development Department collaborated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs in its “Electricity Efficient Smart City Project” and promoted the “Urban Heat Island Mitigation Plan for Core Metropolitan Areas.” According to the results of the analysis of hot spots and summer wind directions in the Greater Taipei region, river banks and main trunk roads are major wind corridors. By connecting waterway and green land networks, widening roads, and improving the environment, an overall temperature decrease can be achieved in the Greater Taipei region, thereby effectively alleviating the UHI effect and adapting to climate change. Subsequently, New Taipei City can shape itself as an example of a healthy city that practices energy conservation and carbon reduction and is adaptable to the environment.