Adequate planning key to mitigating 'urban heat island' effect: Teo Ho Pin

High-rise buildings which block wind and have large surfaces to absorb heat, the lack of vegetation and the heat generated by energy usage are some causes of the phenomenon.
Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 30 May 16;

SINGAPORE: As a high-density city, Singapore is susceptible to urban heat island effect. Hence, adequate planning to mitigate the effect is crucial, said Mayor of North West District Dr Teo Ho Pin on Monday (May 30).

The urban heat island effect - where temperatures in urban areas are significantly higher than in rural areas - is increasingly becoming a concern in cities worldwide. High-rise buildings which block wind and have large surfaces to absorb heat, the lack of vegetation and the heat generated by energy usage are some causes of the phenomenon.

In Singapore, more than 80 per cent of the nation's population live in approximately 1 million Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats across 23 towns.

To look for solutions to improve the urban environment and lower temperatures, more than 200 scientists, engineers, builders and architects worldwide gathered at the Fourth International Conference on Countermeasure to Urban Heat Islands, which is being held for the first time in Singapore.

Dr Teo also said “eco-towns” are developed to counter the effect. “For example, in our Punggol Eco-town developed by the HDB, residential blocks are designed through passive design strategy, strategically oriented to face the prevailing winds in order to maximise natural cross ventilation," he added.

According to Dr Teo, smart technology and eco-friendly features are also embedded into our towns and homes. He revealed that solar photovoltaic system is installed on the housing blocks rooftops as a clean and sustainable energy to meet part of the energy demand in the estate, while energy efficient lighting and motion sensors are used along common corridors and staircases.

Dr Teo also highlighted Singapore's greening efforts to transform it into a city in a garden, like building more parks and waterways, as well as incorporating green spaces in high-rise buildings.

- CNA/xk

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