Based on a study on climate change in the Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP), debated at the seminar “Adaptation strategies for urban tourism in the face of climate change within a framework of post-pandemic opportunities”, organised by the Institute of Social Sciences from UMinho, the geographer told Lusa that the planning of urban areas is still fraught with “inadaptation” and “climate illiteracy”.

“It is necessary to create climate refuges that allow people to protect themselves in the face of a heat wave. Then there is the issue of refuge from cold situations, because when we talk about Porto, winter is also very harsh. We have to take decisions that meet these problems”, reiterated the researcher, involved in a doctoral work on the influence of climate and urban morphology on tourism, which he associates with UMinho and the University of Barcelona.

In the scope of his work, Hélder Lopes pointed out the areas of greatest tourist demand and the greatest “urban heat” in the AMP, as well as the delimitation of five priority intervention zones regarding “tourist supply and demand” and “the level of criticality environmental”, being the area that surrounds the historic centres of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia the main one.

From "microclimatic measurements" and questionnaire surveys of tourists during the summer of 2019, the winter of 2019 and 2020 and the summer of 2020, already conditioned by the covid-19 pandemic, the team involved in the PhD concluded that, in the Porto, the areas most susceptible to heat on Avenida dos Aliados and Praça da Liberdade are the one that surrounds the statue of D. Pedro IV and the one immediately north of the sculpture “Abundância/Os Meninos”, by Henrique Moreira.

The areas most susceptible to the cold are those that are wooded next to the Ardina statue and, to the north, near the City Hall building.

The researcher from the Department of Geography at UMinho, based on the 'campus' of Azurém, in Guimarães, also highlighted that the MPA lacks a “climate monitoring network” that covers the entire territory, as the existing stations, due to their location, they are unable to do it.

Convinced that “climate illiteracy” encompasses the population, senior technicians and “policy makers”, Hélder Lopes stressed the need to guarantee the “thermoregulation” of urban areas, making them more “comfortable” for residents and tourists.

The researcher also defended that cities should be thought of by politicians, technicians, tour operators and the “local community”, taking into account the “environmental and climate problems” and the “tourist supply and demand” simultaneously.