This Prague neighborhood is (literally) the hottest in the city

According to satellite images from the International Space Station, Holešovice has the highest concentration of 'heat islands' in Prague. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.07.2022 14:04:00 (updated on 10.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A couple years back, Time Out rated Prague's Holešovice district as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. The bustling Prague 7 locale continues to be one of the Czech capital's trendiest districts, especially among the student crowd.

But Holešovice isn't just cool: it's also hot. Like, really hot.

According to satellite images from the International Space Station captured by the ECOSTRESS project, the Prague 7 district has the highest collection of "heat islands" in the Czech capital. The findings were first posted to Twitter by Michal Václavík, scientist, educator, and Czech representative at the European Space Agency.

The images, which were captured on June 18 of this year, show concentrations of high land surface temperatures in Prague, and especially in Holešovice.

Heat islands are locations in urban areas with man-made structures that absorb and re-emit the sunlight more intensively than natural locations such as lakes and forests, resulting in higher land surface temperatures.

These areas create pockets or "islands" of heat that can be viewed through thermal imagery such as the ECOSTRESS satellite photos above. In these heat islands, average temperatures can be up to 1-3 degrees Celsius higher than surrounding areas.

While other districts in Prague may have more heat islands, Holešovice appears to have the highest concentration of them. Areas of Prague 9 around O2 Arena, as well as the Industrial Zone around eastern parts of Prague, were also identified as having high concentrations of heat islands.

It might seem counterintuitive that Holešovice, which is surrounded by the Vltava river on three sides and the spacious Stromovka park on the other, would have higher land surface temperatures than other areas of the Czech capital that don't have such natural landscapes nearby.

But while the outskirts of Holešovice have a lot of greenery, trees are scarce within its center. The neighborhood's streets, including main avenues Dukelských Hrdinů, Milady Horákové, and Veletržní, are largely bereft of any greenery at all.

Compare that to Karlín, a former industrial area and current business center across the river from Holešovice. The Prague 8 neighborhood is famed for its numerous tree-lined streets, and seems to completely lack Prague 7's concentration of heat islands based on the satellite images above.

Prague has been making a big deal about planting trees to go along with recent developments in the city center, which includes rows of new trees on the lower half of Wenceslas Square as well as riverside avenue Smetanovo nábřeží.

Planting trees throughout the city center may not seem like such a big deal, but they can have a tangible impact on the urban climate. Going by the satellite images from ECOSTRESS, Prague's recent efforts haven't been in vain.

More information and additional data from ECOSTRESS, a project from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology that measures land surface temperatures across the world, can be found here.

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