Matthias Demuzere

Matthias Demuzere

http://www.kuleuven.be/wieiswie/en/person/00044657

Good HealthQuality EducationClean water and sanitationRenewable EnergyInnovation and InfrastructureSustainable Cities and CommunitiesResponsible ConsumptionClimate Action

Role

Urban climate science enthusiast

Quote

"It is up to us, citizens and communities in general, to make more sustainable and liveable environments fact, not fiction."

Who are you?

Ending climate change begins in cities. Cities are a source of greenhouse gas emissions, but also vulnerable to climate change. Cities are centers of commerce, culture and innovation. Mayors are directly accountable to their constituents and can take decisive action. Citizens undertake community-driven initiatives to make their direct environment more livable and resilient.  This creativity continuously inspires me, also as a researcher. I undertook a PhD and decided to continue in research on a topic closely linked to society: Urban Climate and Sustainable City Design. My main strength is my motivation. A drive to understand (environmental) issues, think about strategies to address them and follow a bottom-up approach to implement them.

Why are you part of Generation T?

Being a researcher is extremely varied, you need to substantively contribute to the scientific literature and find ways to inform the larger public. I address the larger public as much as possible about the role of cities in the climate change debate, via sessions for schools, administrations, weather amateur groups, insurance companies etc. Recently we started meteorological measurement campaigns, to quantify the role of water bodies and vegetation on temperature and thermal comfort. This brings science closer to the public and provides simple ways to visualize, inform and strengthen awareness. Additionally it is important to get in touch with international researchers in the field. To that end I have worked in Australia and Singapore. 

A specific example on how your project or activities make a difference and initiate change:

Both professionally and personally, I am always thinking about how to communicate in a way that actually reach people and inspire them. One of my professional research foci is the role of urban green infrastructure: the importance of urban greenery for the physical environment, but also health and human physiology. But instead of writing a blog-story, you can create a “KUBB-distance map”, reflecting the flat grassy public spaces that are large enough to play a KUBB game and simultaneously indicating the minimum distance of a location of choice to this public green area. This is not only an easy way to find interesting KUBB spaces, but can also inform administrations about city quarters with a clear lack of such spaces.