Published on August 16, 2022
Scalable planning and predictions data visualization tool examines urban heat island effects in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, Ontario
TORONTO, ONTARIO (August 16, 2022) – Evergreen, in partnership with a local Ontario conservation authority, enter a next phase of AI for the Resilient City, activating its scalable planning and prediction data visualization tool to help the municipalities in Ontario’s Peel Region better evaluate infrastructure projects, plan for and mitigate impacts of climate risk and invest effectively for the future. Through funding from RBC Foundation in support of RBC Tech for Nature, Evergreen, with the local Ontario conservation authority, is bringing this AI solution to three new municipalities – Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon with support from the regional government – to drive data-driven decision-making solutions and internal capacity building.
“The need to prepare for climate-related hazards – from floods to fires, heat waves to rising sea levels – has never been more urgent,” said Geoff Cape, CEO & Founder of Evergreen. “As climate adaptation and resiliency planning find their way to the top of the municipal agenda, we require solutions that demonstrate the critical commitment to change to help predict, plan and advance sustainable policy leadership.”
Through funding received in support of RBC Tech for Nature, AI for the Resilient City will enable the local Ontario conservation authority to create a baseline level of Urban Heat Index (UHI) for the Peel Region that will help demonstrate the relationship with infrastructure and population vulnerability in the area. The visualization is currently being built on general open-source data provided by the Peel Data Centre, based on the UHI calculation methodology inputs provided by the local conservation authority, Region of Peel and data science and AI company Gramener. Understanding the patterns of the UHI effect will allow city planners and other decision makers better understand the vulnerable neighbourhoods that need interventions and evaluate potential development scenarios to create or mitigate UHI. The outcome is a baseline UHI map that would extend to city limits yet is granular enough to provide useful information to guide broad level and community- based policy decisions.
“The Region of Peel owns and manages infrastructure valued at over $32 Billion to deliver critical services to our 1.5 million residents and over 88,000 businesses in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. Evergreen’s urban heat data visualization tool will help staff at the Region better understand areas with greater exposure to extreme heat, enabling us to make more informed decisions regarding making our infrastructure assets more resilient to extreme weather events and future climate conditions,” said Christine Tu, Director, Office of Climate Change and Energy Management, Corporate Services, Region of Peel. “As the temperatures increase and neighbourhoods continue to warm, the risk of more frequent or extended extreme heat events rise. The urban heat data visualization tool can inform the Region’s response plan that aims to minimize the risk of heat-related illness especially in vulnerable residents.”
The Region of Peel is committed to being a leader in the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure its services, operations, and infrastructure are resilient to the impacts of climate change. The Region’s Office of Climate Change and Energy Management is working with internal and external stakeholders to deliver the Region’s Climate Change Master Plan.
About AI for the Resilient City
Launched in October 2020, the pilot phase of AI for the Resilient City brought together world class data scientists and data storytellers to create a tool that aims to impact the climate resilience in municipalities across the country. For this initial phase, the innovative platform partnered with the City of Calgary and its Climate Adaptation team to develop to target extreme heat, or UHI, a mounting problem in built-up areas, which can lead to negative effects including increased energy consumption, air pollutants, greenhouse gases and impacts to human health and comfort. The tool has created an integrated view of a wide range of data, letting municipal stakeholders see which areas of the city are most impacted by UHI, with the goal of projecting future UHI levels across the city, and use this information to plan for a more climate resilient future. More information on the outcomes is scheduled to be released later this year.
AI for the Resilient City is made possible by an initial investment from Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, a pillar of AI for Good, Microsoft’s commitment to empower those working around the world to solve societies greatest challenges humanitarian issues and create a more sustainable and accessible world. The tool has been created in partnership with data science and AI company Gramener.
AI for the Resilient City is funded in part by the RBC Foundation through RBC Tech for Nature to help scale this program.
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Evergreen is dedicated to making cities livable, green and prosperous. Since 1991, the national not-for-profit has been facilitating change in communities through connection, innovation and sustainable actions. We work with community builders across sectors to solve some of the most pressing issues cities face: climate change, housing affordability, and access to nature and public spaces. The Brick Works, located in Toronto’s ravine system, is a year-round destination where the world comes to experience sustainability in action. Once an industrial brick factory, it is an internationally renowned showcase of green design, an award-winning public space and a test site to pilot ideas that can be scaled across the country to shape our cities for the better.