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Using green infrastructure for urban climate-proofing : An evaluation of heat mitigation measures at the micro-scale

  • Teresa Zölch
  • Johannes Maderspacher
  • Christine Wamsler
  • Stephan Pauleit
Publishing year: 2016-12-01
Language: English
Pages: 305-316
Publication/Series: Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume: 20
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Urban green infrastructure (UGI) has been increasingly promoted as a key measure to mitigate heat stress in cities caused by the urban heat island effect and climate change impacts, including climate variability and extremes. However, comparable information concerning the performance of different UGI types to moderate such impacts is mostly lacking. This creates serious challenges for urban planners who need to decide on the most effective measures while considering spatial and administrative constraints. This study investigates how different types and quantities of UGI, i.e. trees, green roofs, and green facades, affect pedestrian thermal comfort. The study was applied to high-density residential areas under current and future climatic conditions. Climate change will on average increase afternoon Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) values by 2.4 K; however, this could be vastly reduced by different UGI scenarios. Planting trees had the strongest impact with an average PET reduction of 13% compared with existing vegetation. Trees shade open spaces and provide evapotranspirative cooling. Another valuable adaptation option is green facades, which have mitigating effects of 5%–10%. In contrast, the effects of green roofs were negligible. Our results indicate that increasing the share of green cover did not directly correspond to the magnitude of the PET reduction. Placing vegetation strategically in heat-exposed areas is more effective than just aiming at a high percentage of green cover. We conclude that our extensive comparative analysis provides empirical evidence to support UGI on the micro-scale and assists planners and decision-makers to effectively select and prioritise concrete measures to adapt to climate change.


  • Landscape Architecture
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Ecosystem services
  • ENVI-met modelling
  • Naturebased solutions
  • Thermal comfort


  • ISSN: 1618-8667
Christine Wamsler
E-mail: christine [dot] wamsler [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se