Urban greening to adapt urban areas to climate change: The Oxford Road Corridor case study


Gina Cavan


Providing cooling in urban areas is a high priority for urban planning and urban design. Increasing green space, especially in densely built-up areas is considered to be a valuable climate change adaptation response in order to reduce the threat of high temperatures to human health and comfort.

This paper focuses on the Oxford Road Corridor, a major private and public transport link extending from Manchester city centre to south Manchester, and reports on research into the current and possible future changes in land cover along the Corridor. The research consisted of two parts. Firstly, three realistic future development scenarios associated with different amounts of green infrastructure in The Corridor were created and modelled: business as usual (maintaining current proportions of green space); high development (green space significantly reduced); and deep green (green space significantly increased). Results from an energy exchange model suggest that an increase in green space within The Corridor could significantly ameliorate rising surface temperatures resulting from climate change.

Secondly, a series of interviews were carried out with the Corridor Partnership Board, to ascertain their perception of the research results and the barriers and opportunities associated with implementing the deep green scenario in practice. Results suggest that there is a good chance for implementation of some elements of the deep green scenario: the partners all perceive climate change to be a significant issue, there are some foundations in the existing development strategy, the partners have very positive perceptions of the benefits of green space, and there is an array of examples of ongoing and planned initiatives which include enhancement of green space. The main threats and weaknesses were associated with financial and economic issues, as well as the dependence of the Partnership on national regulations.