Athens is implementing a Heatwave Action Plan, ensuring the most vulnerable residents are less at risk from rising temperatures.

Athens’ Heatwave Action Plan was launched in 2016, aiming to protect the city’s most at-risk residents, including the elderly, those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, infants, people with obesity problems, and energy poverty stricken households from the adverse health threats of heatwaves. Through the coordination of municipal social services, the city is instituting projects such as increasing green areas, expanding the use of cool materials, increasing shade options, and promoting “cooling routes” in parts of the city where the urban heat island effect is more intense, ensuring that vulnerable residents are protected.

Under a strategic partnership between the city and the National Observatory of Athens, a digital heatwave warning mechanism is now available to residents via either personal computers or smartphones. The mechanism provides valuable information such as the current temperature in the user’s location, whether or not they are at risk depending on their age and medical condition, as well as how to reach a “cooling” spot in case they are indeed at risk.

10,000 trees to be planted by 2020 under the plan, reducing the immediate surrounding temperature by up to 10%

The challenge

With the mean temperature rising 0.5°C per year since the 1990s, Athens is experiencing hotter and longer summers, with more frequent and intense heatwaves, which disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. As part of the Heatwave Action Plan, Athens is implementing heatwave warnings and constructing green areas with cooling spots, increasing resilience to heat and ensuring the well-being of the most at-risk residents.


Economic By applying measures for cooling included in the Heatwave Action Plan, Athens can reduce its energy demand in summer months by 15%.

Environmental By cooling the city, smog and ozone concentrations above threshold limits are predicted to reduce during summer months.

Health With successful awareness campaigns and proper preventive measures included in the Heatwave Action Plan, Athens aims to reduce the number of heat-related health incidents.

Social Athens hopes to reverse “urban flight” with the deployment of greening and cooling infrastructure, attracting locals, tourists, and immigrants back to the city center.

About Athens

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years. Athens is a global city and one of the biggest economic centres in southeastern Europe. It has a large financial sector, and its port Piraeus is both the largest passenger port in Europe, and the second largest in the world. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments.

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