Coast KZN

06 Mar 2019

Scientists address climate change issues

Earl Baillache (South Coast Sun)

A climate change lens has been cast on the Isipingo area, after a team of scientists from Urban Climate Change Research Network visited the city last week.

The team led a workshop with community representatives and city officials to determine key climate issues faced in the area, and recommended solutions, such as the reconfiguration of open spaces to encourage climate resilience. The process added to the Isipingo Urban Design Framework (UDF) plan by presenting a climate change argument and set of action to the process.

The Isipingo UDF that was developed recently was subjected to an analysis of climate change projections for the year 2050 under a business-as-usual and a best-case scenario.

“Findings showed that substantial warming will be experienced in the Isipingo Central Business District and the industrial zone. Particular hot spots are evident within these two areas, and steps should be taken to install green and blue infrastructure, and promote the permeability of cooling winds into these areas,” said the senior manager of climate protection, Sean O’ Donoghue.

“A substantial amount of sidewalk space is taken by parked taxis, and a multi-modal transit centre, with integrated taxi and other transport means, particularly rail, as recommended in the UDF, would help free up sidewalk space to replace with cooling trees and pedestrian friendly walkways,” he said.

A second big challenge is flooding. Severe flooding was experienced in October 2017 during a major storm which hit the area. In this respect, there are two key areas identified for wetland rehabilitation to attenuate flooding. These are the transit camp to the south of the city, and a container depot that has been built on top of a wetland.

The team recommended the repair of a weir immediately below the transit camp to help to redirect water back into the canal system to ensure that the Isipingo Estuary receives enough water to revive its ability to function. Similarly, at the container depot, the movement of water from that wetland into the canal system would augment water supply into the estuary.

The urban design climate workshop matched regional climate projections against existing challenges experienced by residents and visitors to Isipingo. The workshop has highlighted the need for very fine scale data to empower design-based planning efforts to improve Isipingo.

A group of city planners and GIS experts will work towards developing these data to support further analyses in Isipingo. The Isipingo regeneration team will discuss the findings of the workshop, and where to seek funding for implementation of suggested actions.