Press release

Paper online by Cortesao, Lenzholzer, Klok, Jacobs and Kluck

Published on
March 19, 2019

Title: Cooling urban water environments: design prototypes for design professionals.
Authors: Joao Cortesao, Sanda Lenzholzer, Lisette Klok, Cor Jacobs and Jeroen Kluck

Link to the paper online.


This paper presents five design prototypes for cool urban water environments developed in the 'Really cooling water bodies in cities' (REALCOOL) project. The REALCOOL prototypes address an urgent need: urban water bodies, such as ponds or canals, are often assumed to cool down their surroundings during days with heat stress, whereas recent research shows that this is not always the case and that urban water bodies may actually have warming effects too. There are, however, indications that shading, vaporising water, and proper ventilation can keep water bodies and their surroundings cooler. Yet, it is necessary to explore how these strategies can be optimally combined and how the resulting design guidelines can be communicated to design professionals. The REALCOOL prototypes communicate the spatial layout and biometeorological effects of such combinations and assist design decisions dealing with urban water environments. The micrometeorological simulations with Envi­met showed that the prototypes led to local reductions on daytime PET from 1 °C to 7 °C, upon introducing shade. Water mist and fountains were also cooling solutions. The important role of ventilation was confirmed. The paper discusses and concludes about the use of the prototypes as tools for urban design practice.