Excessive, sustained heat causes increased mortality and morbidity, especially among the most vulnerable groups, people who either because of their socio-economic situation or their age suffer the effects of heat more directly, such as the elderly.
Because of climate change, intense heatwaves are expected to become increasingly frequent and intense. There is currently, on average, a heatwave every four years, and in the best-case scenario this frequency is expected to multiply by eight, and in the worst case by up to 16.
Likewise, exposure to cold temperatures is also related to an increase in mortality, and as in the case of heat it also affects the most vulnerable groups, including the elderly and people who are homeless.
For all the above reasons, Barcelona City Council has decided to create a network of climate shelter spaces.
A climate shelter space has the following characteristics:
- It can be indoors or outdoors.
- The indoor spaces are activated all year round so they can be used to cope with both the heat and the cold.
- The outdoor spaces are only active during the preventive phase for heatwaves, which is from 15 June to 15 September.
- They are spaces that provide the population with thermal comfort, while at the same time maintaining other uses and functions.
- In indoor spaces, it is recommended that a set temperature of 27ºC is maintained in the summer and 19ºC in the winter.
- They are especially designed for people who are vulnerable to the heat and the cold (babies, those aged over 75 years and people with a chronic illness or those who are less well-off, etc.)
- It is NOT for people that need medical care, who must go to the appropriate health centre.
- They must be easily accessible and safe, and provide comfortable rest areas (chairs and benches) and free water.
- The urban parks, which form part of this network, have abundant urban greenery (surface area > 0.5 ha) and an NDVI index (which indicates the quality of the vegetation) > 0.4, they are accessible to people with reduced mobility, and they have fountains and seats.
- Areas designated as climate shelters are free.
Around 200 spaces in summer and 130 in winter
97% of the population have a shelter no more than 10 minutes away on foot
New spaces on the network: 8 nursery school playgrounds, CCCB, MACBA, some UPC libraries...
Since the summer of 2022, Barcelona has expanded its network of climate shelters to more than 200, with the following features
Climate shelters are active the whole year through. Check timetables.
*Some of them are activated during the preventive stage for heat waves, from 15 June to 15 September.
They provide the population with thermal comfort, while maintaining their normal uses and functions.
They may be indoors or outdoors (parks and gardens with a high presence of urban greenery and water fountains).
They are for people vulnerable to heat and/or cold (babies, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, etc.,) so long as they do not require medical attention.
They are easily accessible, provide rest areas (chairs) and are safe.
They are duly signposted with this symbol