A resilient city is a city that has the ability to absorb, recover and prepare for future shocks, including shocks associated with extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and hurricanes. While resilience must be built on multiple layers, including governance and economy, green infrastructure is one of the main building blocks in the design of resilient cities.
Hong Kong government has been actively promoting green buildings to mitigate severe heat waves in light of projections of extreme temperatures in the 21st century, with the average number of very hot days and nights anticipated to amount to 89 days and 137 nights annually in 2090 – 2099 (in comparison to 9 days and 16 nights in 1980 – 1999). Verbena Heights, a public housing project in Tseung Kwan, Hong Kong, is a prime example of the city's green infrastructure strategy. The project is well-known for its extensive use of greenery, which mitigates the wall effect and ensures residents enjoy natural ventilation, further reducing the need to rely on electricity-intensive air conditioning as a means of cooling.
However, green infrastructure projects often require significant upfront investment. Indeed, according to Clyde & Co report Resilient city: Hong Kong, a practical challenge to promoting green buildings lies in the costs and expenses involved in the procurement of sustainable building materials.
Redirection of investment flows towards nature-based solutions will be pivotal in advancing the adoption of green infrastructure. To that end, Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was set up in July 2020. Spearheaded by the UK, French, Swiss and Peruvian governments with support of the world's leading financial institutions, the TNFD is set to develop international reporting standards of nature-related risk disclosures to redirect flows of finance at scale towards nature-based solutions and create resilience in the global economy.
Clyde & Co is hosting energy and infrastructure-themed tables in The Chancery Lane Project's virtual legal hackathon, running from 23 September to 18 December 2020. This post is part of a series of updates posted during the hackathon on business-relevant climate initiatives and innovative solutions to some of the challenges arising from climate change in the Energy or Infrastructure industries.