Designing Out Heat – Developing A Computer-Aided Street Layout Tool To Address Urban Heat In Existing Streets And Suburbs.

K. Daniel Yu UNSW / Computational Design
Matthias Irger UNSW / Computational Design
Alex Tohidi UNSW / Computational Design
M. Hank Haeusler UNSW / Computational Design

As cities are getting hotter, the urban heat islands effect will become an increased concern for cities. While urban heat migration strategies are well researched and understood, some strategies of implementing urban heat mitigation focus on private land – thus depending on the owner’s uptake. This research shifts mitigation strategies to the public land where governments have legislative control over the corridor between privately owned cadastral – the street corridor. This paper asks the question how a computational tool could assist councils in redesigning streets to mitigate urban heat. Literature review confirmed a direct relationship between the magnitude of urban heat and street layout, vegetation and materials used, position of the street to the sun and wind direction – yet no tool that assists a designer exists – the focus of the research. We present, the first findings and the iterative development of our street design tool. Via our tool one can alter variables such as vegetation type, materials, or street configuration until urban heat mitigation is optimized. This is a significant step towards cooling our cities as designers now have a process that translates expert knowledge on urban heat into a tool that lets them design as well as evaluate their design.

Keywords: Urban Heat Island, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Traffic Engineering, Computational Tools, Un Sdg 11.

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