Here you will find guidance to identify the types of places in your town or city, such as public squares or narrow shopping streets where people are most likely to experience heat stress during hot weather.

This will help you to prioritize places where people may be particularly vulnerable to heat stress and so where an intervention to mitigate heat stress would be most useful.

Presentation of the workshop

To help you decide what types of places in your city might be vulnerable to heat stress you could carry out a workshop with local stakeholders. This would enable them to take part in identifying places likely to be hot and so where interventions to mitigate heat stress might be most effective. The instructions for the workshop provide a 3-step process and completing this will actively involve participants in the decision-making journey:

Step 1
Recognising that a particular place is hot and that this affects a significant number of people in hot weather.

Step 2
Understanding why the identified place is hot.

Step 3
Identifying options to mitigate heat stress in the location.

For more information and practical tips download the workshop guidance here.

Thermal walk

A thermal walk is a procedure used to map the hot spots and is an effective method for professionals such as urban planners as well to explore and understand how greenery, space, and water affect human thermal comfort.

Guidance is given on how to conduct this, walking a route recording :

  • the characteristics of each site  (shade pattern building geometry and greenery for example);
  • asking those taking part their  thermal experience in different places (for example by using a questionnaire);
  • recording the temperature using a thermal imaging camera to demonstrate the differences in temperature of environmental materials.
Measurement protocol

Towns and cities are facing more frequent heatwaves of increasing intensity discouraging people from using urban open spaces that are part of their daily lives. Climate proofing cities is an incremental process that should begin where it is needed using the most cost-efficient solutions to mitigate heat stress. However, for this to be achieved the factors that influence the thermal comfort of users, such as the layout of local spaces, their function and the way people use them needs to be identified. There is currently little evidence  on the effectiveness of heat stress interventions in different types of urban space.

The Cool Towns Heat Stress Measurement Protocol addresses this by providing  guidance to enable a full Thermal Comfort Assessment (TCA) to be conducted at street-level. Those involved in implementing climate adaptation strategies in urban areas, either  in re-developments or making improvements to existing areas, will find practical support to identify places where heat stress may be an issue and suggestions for effective mitigation measures. Practical instructions are provided on how to use weather stations to  measure the effectiveness of different features in reducing heat stress and so increase thermal comfort.  This provides evidence-based justification for the selection of different cooling interventions for example trees, water features, and shade sails, for climate proofing urban areas.

Thermal maps

The function of a thermal map is to identify the need of heating, or in Cool Towns’ case, cooling of a geographical area. They show where heat builds up in hot periods, indicating temperature differences between places.

Although some work on the mapping of heat stress has been done in few European countries, the maps available are mostly static, outdated and in low-resolution.

One of the objectives of the Cool Towns project is to produce and develop high quality thermal maps for the partner’s  pilot locations to  demonstrate how heat stress can be mitigated by  introducing  green or blue infrastructure or artificial shading.

Vulnerability maps

The thermal maps created will be  enhanced by adding  data on concentrations of vulnerable people, for example schools, hospitals, or retirement homes in a Geographic Information System (GIS). This has been provided by pilot partners as a demonstration that can be followed in your town or city to help to set priorities for heat stress intervention.