Article in Groen magazine about the first findings in the European Cool Towns project

Worldwide it is getting warmer, especially in cities the heat lingers because of the buildings with major consequences for the quality of life. A research team from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) is developing solutions in collaboration with European regions and municipalities in the Cool Towns project. Gideon Spanjar, project leader Cool Towns at the HVA, talks about the importance of the research and the results of the first 1.5 years in the trade magazine ‘Groen’.

Heat stress requires policymakers to revise the design of the built environment and spatial designers have to come up with smart design solutions of which climate adaptation is a natural part. “Especially in small and medium-sized municipalities, the knowledge and capacity to map heat stress may be lacking,” says Spanjar. “They know that water, greenery and hanging tarps have a cooling effect, but have insufficient insight into the heat problem itself and the effectiveness of possible measures.”

Heat resistant device

In Cool Towns, the spatial, economic and quality of life consequences of heat stress are mapped out, and the effectiveness of (integrated) measures and the need for additional policy are examined. The project will run until 2022 and will then provide an open access decision tool with which municipalities can map heat stress and weigh up measures for a heat-resistant design of the urban environment.

Feels like temperature

“Heat sensitivity is about the wind chill temperature. In addition to air temperature, this is based on factors such as humidity, the presence of wind and the radiation from the sun and surrounding buildings”, says Gideon Spanjar. “In the project, an important question is how we guarantee the quality of stay in a neighborhood or shopping area during extreme heat. How do you offer thermal comfort in places where people stay a lot and do you cool down in places where people walk a lot? ”

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Read the whole article (Link to PDF) in Dutch