Kelbaugh speaks on "Urban Cool" in Stockholm at the Future of Places Conference

Kelbaugh speaks on “Urban Cool” in Stockholm at the Future of Places Conference

Doug Kelbaugh, FAIA Emeritus, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, and former Dean of the College, was a plenary speaker at the Future of Places Conference in Stockholm in July, 2015, delivering his paper on “Urban Cool, How local Urban Heat Islands can hasten the mitigation of and adaptation to global Climate Change.” In many climate zones, the Urban Heat Island (UHI, or increase in urban temperatures above the surrounding countryside) is a more immediate, local and palpable challenge, with a 5 to 10 year horizon, rather than the 50 to 100 year horizon of CC. Fortuitously, strategies to address the Urban Heat Island Effect are almost identical to strategies to address global CC, meaning that UHI can be invoked as an effective motivator and mobilizer of behavioral and physical change with much wider, longer-term benefits. Because UHI mitigation and adaptation both prompt more immediate and direct changes with quicker and more tangible results, it is typically more practical and satisfying to humans than the slower-to-bear-fruit CC practices and policies.  The essay then describes three urban cooling strategies and tactics: albedo enhancement (lighter, more reflective surfaces), sensible heat reduction (less hot tailpipe and chimney exhausts) , and cool micro-climates (shading/cooling from trees). 

Professor Kelbaugh also serves on the Drafting Committee for official text on public spaces for HABITAT III, the world UN Forum that is convened every 20 years, the next to take place in Quito, Equador next October 2016.