The Cool Cities Network supports city efforts to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect, working in partnership with the Global Cool Cities Alliance.
Cities are 3 to 8 degrees Celsius warmer than rural areas because built environments emit heat, urban surfaces absorb more sunlight and heat than natural landscapes, and urban areas lack vegetation to cool through evaporation. This phenomenon, known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect, triggers an increase in building energy use and air pollution, has significant health impacts, and reduces quality of life. Increasing the reflectance of buildings and paved surfaces reduces urban temperatures, as does greening the city.
Cool Cities Network Focus Areas
Many cities are taking several measures to address the urban heat island effect in their local jurisdictions. These early successes represent a great opportunity for knowledge sharing and collaboration among C40 cities. Cities participating in the network have prioritized three focus areas around which they are actively sharing policies and strategies with one another. The focus areas are:
UHI data monitoring and measurement – collecting and using UHI data to target future action
Heat health vulnerability – considering the populations most vulnerable to health impacts from UHI and identifying strategies to reduce heat health vulnerability
Integrating heat into long-term planning - integrating urban heat assessments and strategies to address it into long-term planning
Green and cool solutions - evaluating green and cool solutions and their implementation
The Cool Cities Network is led by Athens.
The City of Melbourne’s Urban Landscapes branch has been inspired by the innovative policies and approaches that many cities in the Cool Cities Network have developed. Accessing the Cool Cities Network to exchange perspectives, share stories and compare approaches on cooling and greening strategies has been very beneficial to furthering our thinking. Based on webinar conversations with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2013 about their National Conservation Ordinance we are now considering if a similar policy might be effective in Melbourne. We have undertaken an international policy review to understand how other cities have encouraged greening in the private realm. This review has focused strongly on Tokyo, Seattle, Berlin and Chicago and it is now feeding into new policy exploration and development for the City of Melbourne.Yvonne Lynch, Urban Landscapes, City of Melbourne