How urban design moderates heat in US cities | KALEV.COM

Diagram of the Urban Heat Island Effect. From

In this post, Tricia Edgar discusses the urban heat island effect, what it means for cities, and how it can be mitigated. In short, cities are made up of dark materials that absorb heat and don’t have enough materials that reflect or otherwise mitigate heat, such as trees, and this are significantly warmer than their surrounding countryside. Why does this effect matter? “To put it quite bluntly, it kills people,” Edgar says, saying the 1995 heat wave in Chicago killed over 500 people. Yikes! So how do we address it? Firstly, by making cities greener. This of course includes parks, but more important are smaller green spaces all over the city:  trees on streets and parking lots, and gardens on roofs or even vertical surfaces. Where planting is impractical, make materials lighter in color, such as replacing asphalt roof tiles with lighter colors or paving smaller streets in concrete rather than asphalt.


About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

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