Study: Vegetation will cool urban heat islands

Civic Affairs

Greening can cool urban spots considerably

A screen grab of an interactive map by PSU showing urban heat islands and green spots, July 9, 2019 (PSU)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new Portland State University study shows planting trees and vegetation will help cool urban areas substantially.

The study, requested by the City of Portland, will help urban planners and developers as the city gets more densely populated.

Urban heat islands — that is, spots of higher temperatures with many buildings and a lot of pavement — have been shown in previous PSU studies to be connected with high pollution and adverse health conditions.

Interactive Map: Paving vs Greening

“Nature-based solutions such as the ones described in the study – when applied effectively and used in combination – can reduce temperatures of even the hottest places,” Urban Studies and Planning Professor Vivek Shandas said in a statement.

The new study showed planting vegetation, using reflective material on hard surfaces and installing green roofs on buildings can considerably cool urban heat islands, as much as 25 degrees in some spots.

The study was recently published in the journal “Atmosphere.”

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