Research published by the Urban Land Institute reveals strategies to mitigate the impact rising temperatures are having on urban development.
Scorched: Extreme Heat and Real Estate explores how extreme heat is emerging as a growing risk factor across the US, but its findings are just as important to Australian developers, with new design approaches, technologies and policies under the microscope.
"Although managing extreme heat has no one-size-fits-all approach, particularly given different humidity levels and other local conditions, a suite of potential options is available, many of which also build amenity value and address other environmental needs such as stormwater management," reads the report, which says the crisis also provides opportunities to reduce climate risk and create better communities.
Scorched highlights a range of innovative projects designed to manage extreme heat. From the flexibility of Fort Worth's Sundance Square Plaza, where multipurpose amenities are designed to meet visitor needs year-round, to the bountiful greenery of Arlington's National Landing and Scottsdale's architecturally appealing Skysong, developers are embracing the challenge and forging long-term, cost efficient solutions in the process.
These solutions include:
- Increased usage of light coloured surfaces and materials, resulting in a reduction in energy costs.
- Natural canopies that provide natural shade while reducing summer air temperatures up to five degrees Celsius.
- 'Heat aware' services that stabalise indoor environments even when power is lost, saving lives in the process.
"The built environment is ultimately both a contributor to and a solution for extreme heat, especially in cities, and presents numerous opportunities for mitigation and adaptation at the building and neighborhood scales," says the report.
With urban heat islands - locations of increased temperature related to urban activity - proving a major contributor to extreme heat conditions, builders are now in the hot seat. Change must be made to combat the hostile conditions steadily developing around the world, and they will play an important part in making that change happen.
To read the full report, click here.
Image: Sundance Square. 123RF's Paul Brady© 123RF.com