Demystifying the urban heat island phenomenon: A data-driven approach

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect refers to the phenomenon where the average temperature in inner cities is higher than in the surrounding areas due to the materials used in the built environment and human activities. Naturally, in an era when addressing global warming and building resilient cities are becoming imperatives of modern society, UHI is at the center of attention. However, while awareness abounds, proactive measures lack. This is mainly because scientific insight into the UHI phenomenon has not yet found its way into the urban decision-making sphere. In other words, given the complexity of available tools for the analysis of UHI, urban planners seldom actively consider UH in their decision-making. With the intention of bringing UHI consideration to the urban planning table, this body of works aims to generate insights into the interplay between urban planning decision-making parameters and the UHI effect using evidence-based and data-driven methods. It is shown that easily accessible data can provide us with valuable information about UHI and the effectiveness of potential mitigation strategies. The key findings of this research include: (1) one-size-fits-all mitigation strategy is a myth that is to be repelled, (2) a standardized data collection strategy can provide us with ingredients much needed for UHI-conscious decision making, (3) UHI needs to be concurrently considered a both canopy and surface layers as the interplay between the two is highly non-linear; and (4) while UHI is highly context specific at the urban level, they are classifiable at the street-level, meaning that urban planners can make umbrella decisions for a type of streets in a given city. In a nutshell, this research has taken a significant step in establishing a platform that bridges the gap between urban decision-making and UHI science, paving the way for more informed and effective urban planning strategies.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Dorée, Andries G., Supervisor
  • Vahdatikhaki, Faridaddin, Co-Supervisor
  • Oliveira dos Santos, Joao Miguel, Co-Supervisor
Award date14 Nov 2023
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5872-3
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5873-0
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023


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