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World Bank Report: Concreting and construction have turned Durrës into the hottest city in the Balkans

World Bank Report: Concreting and construction have turned Durrës into the

The large urban centers of the Balkan region will experience greater heat waves than the areas around them.

The World Bank, in the regional report for the Western Balkans, noted that heat waves are expected to increase rapidly in the following decades.

Between 1990 and 2040, Durrës will have the highest increase in heat wave magnitude index among a sample of large cities in the region.

After Durrës, temperatures will rise faster in the cities of Pristina, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Tirana and Skopje.

The number of heat waves in the world is expected to increase by 4% compared to the average summer, but the temperature in the 6 countries of the Western Balkans is predicted to increase by up to 7.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The World Bank reports that heat waves have implications for public health and socio-economic well-being and have a negative impact on labor productivity in all sectors, especially agriculture and construction.

Western Balkan cities also suffer from 'thermal inequality'. In some neighborhoods, residents are exposed to temperatures 5°C higher than residents of greener neighborhoods.

The bank undertook an innovative heat measurement campaign in August 2024 and discovered striking changes in near-ground air temperatures experienced by city dwellers in Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Local community volunteers placed temperature and humidity sensors in their vehicles and drove around their towns to collect thousands of temperature readings, which were used to create heat maps.

In Sarajevo, a temperature difference of 7.4°C was observed in different neighborhoods, while in Mostar, the temperature disparity reached 8.2°C. Measurements in Albanian cities have shown that in Tirana, Shkodër and Vlora, temperature differences reach the range of 4-6°C.

Heat stress was shown to be systematically higher in neighborhoods with a high density of built surfaces, such as asphalt pavements, and a low incidence of grass, shrubs, and tree cover.

The Bank suggested that cities should reduce their emissions, not only because this is good for the planet, but also because this will have an immediate improvement on environmental and socio-economic and environmental outcomes. The focus should be on key sectors including transport, buildings and waste treatment./Monitor


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