LIFE Tree Check (“So the city doesn’t burn”) is a project led by Nadace Partnerství in which we are partners. It aims to help Central European cities to effectively tackle climate change. The intention is to strengthen green-blue infrastructure and the knowledge of city councillors and residents about its importance in a variety of ways – from professional conferences and articles to various ways of making the topic accessible to lay urban dwellers.
Last year we set out to produce short animated documentaries that would aim to shed light on the issue of green-blue infrastructure and its impact on the heat island in cities. We enlisted the help of Epicture Studio, and together we started creating short animated videos that would take the viewer through topics concerning urban greenery and water. We chose a method that combined photography and drawings. This simple yet very rewarding format allowed us to easily illustrate the initial condition whereas the additional graphics helped to clearly visualise additional elements that would greatly enhance the quality of the microclimate and with it the quality of life in the chosen location. The baseline photographs were taken in the city of Brno to illustrate the issues in general, but the videos can be used virtually anywhere in Central Europe. That is why the videos also include English subtitles and will soon also be followed by subtitled versions in the languages of the countries participating in the LIFE Tree Check project.
Which topics did we cover? In the three longer, three-minute videos, we presented the problem of urban overheating itself and of the heat island it creates in the landscape, along with the possibilities for cooling with water and vegetation. In the short, 30-second clips, we elaborated on each option. We began with the importance of mature trees, green corridors in the city and new water bodies, and then moved on to the significance of enabling water infiltration, making rivers more accessible, planting new trees in developments, and other options for the greening and shading of buildings. As a result, we now have 13 video clips that we have started introducing to the public and local politicians, showing them how important green and blue infrastructure in cities is and why it should be viewed as a fundamental stabilising element of the city and not just a superfluous decoration.
At the end of April, we started posting videos on Nadace Partnerství’s YouTube channel. One video will be posted each week, making the “So the city doesn’t burn ” video campaign last through most of the long period of summer heat. Below are the first two videos that are now available for viewing.
There are ten more videos coming up. What already is available in its entirety is the Tree Check App that is up for download on the project website here. It introduces people to trees in cities in a playful way to motivate them to take care of them.