Concrete consequences (Concrete desert) (from series)

Concrete and asphalt have become the symbols of human progress and development in the world where the majority of people live in cities. Roads, parking lots, and dark roofs contribute to increasing heat in cities and treat the rainwater like waste, not a resource. These factors ultimately make the health and life conditions of residents more unfavourable. Research shows that 80 percent of rainwater runs off the roads, streets, and parking lots into the drainage systems and then rivers, while only 20 percent runs off like this in nature. Ideally, most of the water that falls on the ground sinks into the soil and comes back up through vegetation, cooling the microclimate surrounding it. Impervious surfaces are defined as surfaces that prevent surface water from penetrating into the ground and are composed of human-made materials such as steel, cement, asphalt, bricks, and stone. While some structures from these materials play a key role in the city infrastructure, others could be made more sustainable in the face of ever-increasing temperatures and droughts. Green roofs are one of the most important adaptive solutions for urban areas as they cool down the buildings underneath, hold in some of the rainwater, so it doesn't overwhelm the drainage system, and provide additional insulation in the winter. I have decided to portray the abundance of impervious surfaces in the city of Bratislava the capital of Slovakia, where I live because its one of the places which face the biggest risk of extreme heat in our country. I also wanted to show some of the possible solutions for people in cities, going forward. I think capturing how the climate crisis will affect the lives of people in urban areas is important, because climate change is often portrayed through images of melting glaciers and suffering polar bears, yet it is not a problem that only affects wildlife in beautiful remote places. It is a global issue that has local consequences, even in urban areas largely disconnected from nature. (Shopping centres are some of the most prevalent symbols of city infrastructure. They are often surrounded by vast, paved, parking lots, like this one.)

Tomáš Hrivňák

professional photographer, Denník N
I´ve majored in Media Analysis and Research at Masaryk University in Brno. Until 2020, I´ve worked as a photojournalist at the local Brno media outlet I spent one semester on a study stay in Iceland, where I published photographs in several media. In 2018, I completed a three-month journalistic internship at the daily newspaper Košice:dnes. In 2019, I published a long-form on drought in Slovakia in Denník N, which was part of my bachelor´s thesis. I received the Arnost Heinrich Prize, awarded by the Czech Syndicate of Journalists for the best bachelor thesis. Since 2020, I have been writing and photographing for Denník N. In 2021, I won the Slovak Press Photo Award in the World of Art and Culture category. I won the 2021 Journalism Award in the category of written reportage and in 2022 I won the Grant of Bratislava, thanks to which I photographed the Slovak capital for a year. In 2023, I participated in a project visualizing the climate crisis, organized and curated by SLOVAK PRESS PHOTO and Noor Images.