Thursday, January 22, 2009


Conclusion and Recommendations

While more definitive studies are continuing, it is clear from the data that the built environment, and corresponding lack of vegetation, is several degrees warmer than nearby natural environments. The increasing effects in tropical mega-cities have created increasing concern for the sustainability of the urban system.

Studies in the urban heat environment have gone a long way. Most of the earlier researches though were focused from the meteorological point of view. The motivation was to see the implications of heat island on weather phenomenon. Another group of researchers tried to study heat environment from an architectural point of view, where their intentions were to provide the ambient temperature and comfort condition inside buildings. The former was of concern of regional scale and the latter was of building scale but none approach it from the scale of a city. However, with the advent of remote sensing and aeronautics research using techniques developed for space technologies, a sudden interest is observed.

Recent studies that have used these technologies have focused on the understanding of land use patterns to heat production and its effect on the lowest layers in the atmosphere. The concern is on how the characteristics of the urban landscape drive this urban heat island effect and how urbanization and growth shape the dynamics of the effect. Parks and greenbelts reduce temperatures while the Central Business district (CBD), commercial areas, and even suburban housing tracts are areas of warmer temperatures. Every house, building, and road changes the microclimate around it, contributing to the urban heat islands of our cities. The urban heat island effect will exist as long as urban areas exist. However, the growth of heat islands can be slowed, and its effects reduced.

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the urban heat environment, their implications to urban sustainability, and to identify measures to alleviate it. There are many possible measures that exist to make cities more sustainable and habitable and urban planners and policy makers should think this phenomenon seriously before the situation gets worse further. In some affluent cities such as Tokyo, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the problem has been identified as quite serious and major researches are being initiated. Present and future mega-cities like Metro Manila should learn the lessons from these cities and appropriate urban policies should be put into action.


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