UHI has become a matter of increasing concern because of its many, mainly negative, effects upon the quality of urban life. These include reduced thermal comfort for urban dwellers, and increased noise, air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. In tropical Singapore, increased temperatures due to UHI negatively affect the liveability and thermal comfort of residents. Many of these problems are likely to become more severe in the future, partly because of urban growth but also because of the impacts of climate change upon cities.
Reducing the UHI effect will bring considerable benefits to Singapore, measurable not only in economic terms but also in the improved health and wellbeing of citizens. Achieving a substantial and lasting reduction, however, will be a complex undertaking that necessitates an all-of-government approach, since it will have implications for planning, transportation and construction, as well as patterns of individual consumption. Such an undertaking must be based upon the best scientific information, and new research will also be needed in areas where existing knowledge is insufficient. It will require a consistent commitment over an extended period and close coordination among stakeholders in government, the research community, and the private sector. Finally, addressing the issue of UHI will directly contribute to two of Singapore's policy goals concerned with thermal comfort and meeting the COP21 goals to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
For all these reasons, the Cooling Singapore project aims to develop a roadmap to guide the emerging strategy.
Science and Facts
We defined a suitable metric to measure thermal comfort, which encompasses the idea of how comfortable or uncomfortable a particular location is. We generated a map of Singapore, indicating the areas that are most affected by the UHI in terms of thermal comfort.
Design and Gaps
We identified viable mitigation strategies and evaluate their expected effectiveness in reducing the UHI effect in hotspot areas. We are now in the progress of systematically identify knowledge and technology gaps to guide our efforts to develop a roadmap for UHI-related R&D activities in Singapore.
We have established a UHI task force together with local key players related to UHI in the public and private sectors. We have and are creating reports documenting our findings and discuss them in workshops and events involving the various stakeholders.
Towards a roadmap with Actionable Knowledge
We aim at developing the approach for a roadmap for UHI mitigation measures to illustrate possible ways towards improved thermal comfort.