We are very excited to announce the longlist for our first ever Cooling by Nature Award, supported by K-CEP and in partnership with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). As global temperatures rise, keeping cool is becoming an increasingly urgent health issue, with cities particularly at risk of trapping heat and becoming 'urban heat islands'. This puts literally billions of people in danger of heat-stress.

Clever city planning can play a crucial role in providing cooling solutions, like having light surfaces instead of dark, green roofs and shading in public areas, as well as higher standards of building design. There is a great deal of innovation happening across all these areas, but much more investment is needed to take these solutions to scale. 

For the past few months, we have been scouring the globe for the best solutions during our Ashden Award application process and one of the most important and overlooked areas that emerged was that of urban greenery.

We have chosen to shine a spotlight on the vital role that trees and vegetation plays in regulating temperature and reducing dangerous levels of heat in cities. They provide shade, reflect heat and help to actually cool the air. All this, as well as boosting people's well-being and tackling air pollution. 

The longlist below represents a range of innovative and ambitious approaches in urban greenery that are keeping cities cool and liveable. 

  • Alcaldía de Medellin - Green Corridors Initiative: An initiative of the city of Medellin to create networks of greenery across the city, via 30 'green corridors’, which connect existing green space, improving biodiversity and reducing the ‘urban heat island ‘effect.
  • Addis Ababa - City River Basins and Green Areas Development: In the face of rapid urbanisation, the agency has focused on expanding green areas and restoring polluted rivers to create a more liveable city and to cool the local environment. 
  • Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority - Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (LUSH) policy: The LUSH policy incentivises greenery replacement in new building developments of up to 100% equivalent of the development site, ensuring that green space and shading – essential elements of cool cities design - are integrated as the city develops.
  • Singapore Housing and Development Board - Punggol Waterways: As master planner and developer of Punggol, a newly developed area of Singapore to house 100,000 people, HDB has incorporated 60 hectares of parks as well as built 8km of waterways with floating wetlands and freshwater mangroves.