Learning to Chill: The Role of Design Schools and Professional Training to Improve Urban Climate and Urban Metabolism

The increased frequency of heat-related mortality and morbidity in urban environments indicates the importance of urban climate studies. As most of the world’s population lives in cities, the education of designers, planners and policy makers is crucial to promote urban sustainability This paper, firstly, focuses on the different factors causing the urban heat islands in large cities. Secondly, it considers how these factors are reflected in higher education programmes. Examples are shown from courses in UK higher education, explaining the common software tools used for simulating urban spaces, and student field measurements are drawn on to illustrate how urban climate studies are included in higher education curricula. Urban metabolism is used to conceptualise the main approach to systemic resource-use assessments and as a holistic framework to investigate the main drivers of the urban heat island phenomenon. To sum up, this paper reflects on the importance of training climatically-aware graduates from design schools.

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