Landscape architect Sanda Lenzholzer from Wageningen University has written a book about the climate in urban areas: ‘Weather in the City – How Design Shapes the Urban Climate’. The physical and psychological impact of the urban climate is unknown territory for many designers, both in the Netherlands and elsewhere. This book, a big success in the Netherlands, has now been translated into English.
A splendidly laid-out square where you’re blown off your feet, or a modern city dwelling where heat-wave temperatures prevent you from sleeping. Everyone knows of examples of urban architecture in which the design has not taken the urban climate sufficiently into account. ‘Weather in the City’ is the first book on urban climate in the Netherlands. Sanda Lenzholzer explains clearly and graphically how a better urban design can make a city more comfortable to live in. And this does not refer to just water and green spaces, but also to wind and to factors relating to environmental psychology.
“I came to work in the Netherlands 15 years ago, and on one of my first days in The Hague I was literally blown off my bike,” Sanda Lenzholzer recalls, to illustrate the fact that urban space design often does not take proper account of the wind. “Wind can make open squares rather unpleasant. Similarly the ‘channels’ between high buildings can cause wind to be a real nuisance. The heat waves in 2003 and 2006 demonstrated that temperature may be a matter of life or death. The way in which we experience the urban climate depends on physical and psychological factors dictated by our surroundings. I use these factors to explain in my book how basic urban climate processes work and how these can be influenced by spatial planning and urban design. I would like to make urban meteorology more accessible to a wider public, including the people who commission designs, the urban planners and the designers themselves.”
‘Weather in the City – How Design Shapes the Urban Climate’ is illustrated with photographs, concept drawings and case studies. It is both a reference work and a source of inspiration for everyone who works to make the city a better place to live in: those who commission designs, policymakers, professionals and students in the disciplines urban design, landscape architecture and urban planning. It demonstrates that climate consciousness does not necessarily limit creativity but can in fact function as source of inspiration. Sanda Lenzholzer: “In my workshops I notice that architects and designers who put these principles into practice almost all come to realise that designing with climate is really enjoyable.”