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Developing strategies to involve the city’s most vulnerable communities in urban greening

3 min read • 15th June 2023

As Germany’s hottest major city, Mannheim is actively addressing its heat islands and rising temperatures. Inspired by the EU’s Green Deal, the city has adopted a Local Green Deal and implemented a heat action plan to protect its most vulnerable residents from scorching heat.

The Urban ReLeaf project provides an opportunity for citizens to participate in creating a tree registry and mapping heat islands. By tracking existing trees, it is possible to understand where trees are currently located and provide better planning for future planting activities to reduce the urban heat island effect.

On June 23rd, 2023, a workshop was held where 16 representatives from local environmental initiatives, educational institutions, municipal departments, civil society, and the data science field came together. During the workshop, the participants identified blue and green infrastructure, microclimate and heat stress as the three key priority areas for Mannheim.

In the course of the workshop, the participants defined the groups who are most likely to be affected by the issues at hand. They specifically highlighted older citizens, individuals with illnesses or disabilities, and children as priority groups that require focused engagement and support.

Following on, engagement strategies were discussed including the development of an app for people with disabilities to report on lawn conditions and non-functioning sprinklers. Another idea involved encouraging older citizens to share photos of their backyards before and after tree planting via WhatsApp. These images could help the city pilot better understand private green spaces and promote urban greening.

Thanks to the lively and fruitful discussions, the city of Mannheim will now embark on the next step in the journey to develop concrete actions plans to engage its vulnerable communities in data collection campaigns. For more information, follow