Germany has unveiled a draft of the “Stadtnatur” Masterplan in a bid to fight climate change. This bold new strategy aims to enhance environmental protection by introducing measures to strengthen greenery within cities. Therefore, the term “Stadtnatur” refers to urban nature. The country’s soaring temperatures over summer 2018 have heightened concerns that Germany may already be grappling with the effects of this phenomenon. According to an article by Spiegel Online, regions of Germany experienced temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius, leading to a wide range of consequences. Hospitals saw a spike in cases of heat fatigue and sunstroke. A resulting drought means this year’s harvest output will likely be 20% less than that of 2017 - and 20% more expensive for consumers.
These striking events have likely reinforced the German Federal Ministry for the Environment’s mission to combat climate change. According to Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, the Stadtnatur Masterplan’s aims to build urban resilience against rising temperatures through strengthening the natural environment of cities. Minister Schulze presented that greenspaces could not only reduce temperatures by as much as 3 to 4 degrees Celsius and, thereby, help reduce heat waves, but they also act as critical habitats where wildlife like birds and insects can flourish. In this sense, the Masterplan not only seeks to protect the flora and fauna of urban zones, but additionally to boost the living quality of city residents by creating a more tranquil, recreational and healthy environment.
The Masterplan draft lays out 19 ambitious steps by which the federal state can promote the diversity of species and habitats in cities. The plan is now being coordinated within the federal government. As part of this new scheme, the German Federal Ministry for the Environments will prioritise funding for various measures to enhance urban greenery. Important measures envisaged by the Masterplan include integrating the principle “Stadtnatur” in the legal building code and giving more weight to communal landscape design in the Federal Nature Conservation Act. As the Masterplan seeks to promote climate protection, it is hoped that the new scheme will provoke federal states to give greater consideration towards acting in harmony with the environment.