Theory and Practice in Sustainability Science: Influence of Urban Form on the Urban Heat Island and Implications for Urban Systems
Author(s)Doran, Elizabeth M. B.
Land use planning
urban heat island
Full recordShow full item record
Abstract<p>As the world population continues to grow past seven billion people and global challenges continue to persist including resource availability, biodiversity loss, climate change and human well-being, a new science is required that can address the integrated nature of these challenges and the multiple scales on which they are manifest. Sustainability science has emerged to fill this role. In the fifteen years since it was first called for in the pages of Science, it has rapidly matured, however its place in the history of science and the way it is practiced today must be continually evaluated. In Part I, two chapters address this theoretical and practical grounding. Part II transitions to the applied practice of sustainability science in addressing the urban heat island (UHI) challenge wherein the climate of urban areas are warmer than their surrounding rural environs. The UHI has become increasingly important within the study of earth sciences given the increased focus on climate change and as the balance of humans now live in urban areas. </p><p>In Chapter 2 a novel contribution to the historical context of sustainability is argued. Sustainability as a concept characterizing the relationship between humans and nature emerged in the mid to late 20th century as a response to findings used to also characterize the Anthropocene. Emerging from the human-nature relationships that came before it, evidence is provided that suggests Sustainability was enabled by technology and a reorientation of world-view and is unique in its global boundary, systematic approach and ambition for both well being and the continued availability of resources and Earth system function. Sustainability is further an ambition that has wide appeal, making it one of the first normative concepts of the Anthropocene. </p><p>Despite its widespread emergence and adoption, sustainability science continues to suffer from definitional ambiguity within the academe. In Chapter 3, a review of efforts to provide direction and structure to the science reveals a continuum of approaches anchored at either end by differing visions of how the science interfaces with practice (solutions). At one end, basic science of societally defined problems informs decisions about possible solutions and their application. At the other end, applied research directly affects the options available to decision makers. While clear from the literature, survey data further suggests that the dichotomy does not appear to be as apparent in the minds of practitioners. </p><p>In Chapter 4, the UHI is first addressed at the synoptic, mesoscale. Urban climate is the most immediate manifestation of the warming global climate for the majority of people on earth. Nearly half of those people live in small to medium sized cities, an understudied scale in urban climate research. Widespread characterization would be useful to decision makers in planning and design. Using a multi-method approach, the mesoscale UHI in the study region is characterized and the secular trend over the last sixty years evaluated. Under isolated ideal conditions the findings indicate a UHI of 5.3 ± 0.97 °C to be present in the study area, the magnitude of which is growing over time. </p><p>Although urban heat islands (UHI) are well studied, there remain no panaceas for local scale mitigation and adaptation methods, therefore continued attention to characterization of the phenomenon in urban centers of different scales around the globe is required. In Chapter 5, a local scale analysis of the canopy layer and surface UHI in a medium sized city in North Carolina, USA is conducted using multiple methods including stationary urban sensors, mobile transects and remote sensing. Focusing on the ideal conditions for UHI development during an anticyclonic summer heat event, the study observes a range of UHI intensity depending on the method of observation: 8.7 °C from the stationary urban sensors; 6.9 °C from mobile transects; and, 2.2 °C from remote sensing. Additional attention is paid to the diurnal dynamics of the UHI and its correlation with vegetation indices, dewpoint and albedo. Evapotranspiration is shown to drive dynamics in the study region.</p><p>Finally, recognizing that a bridge must be established between the physical science community studying the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, and the planning community and decision makers implementing urban form and development policies, Chapter 6 evaluates multiple urban form characterization methods. Methods evaluated include local climate zones (LCZ), national land cover database (NCLD) classes and urban cluster analysis (UCA) to determine their utility in describing the distribution of the UHI based on three standard observation types 1) fixed urban temperature sensors, 2) mobile transects and, 3) remote sensing. Bivariate, regression and ANOVA tests are used to conduct the analyses. Findings indicate that the NLCD classes are best correlated to the UHI intensity and distribution in the study area. Further, while the UCA method is not useful directly, the variables included in the method are predictive based on regression analysis so the potential for better model design exists. Land cover variables including albedo, impervious surface fraction and pervious surface fraction are found to dominate the distribution of the UHI in the study area regardless of observation method. </p><p>Chapter 7 provides a summary of findings, and offers a brief analysis of their implications for both the scientific discourse generally, and the study area specifically. In general, the work undertaken does not achieve the full ambition of sustainability science, additional work is required to translate findings to practice and more fully evaluate adoption. The implications for planning and development in the local region are addressed in the context of a major light-rail infrastructure project including several systems level considerations like human health and development. Finally, several avenues for future work are outlined. Within the theoretical development of sustainability science, these pathways include more robust evaluations of the theoretical and actual practice. Within the UHI context, these include development of an integrated urban form characterization model, application of study methodology in other geographic areas and at different scales, and use of novel experimental methods including distributed sensor networks and citizen science.</p>
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Republic of Togo : Urban and Peri-Urban Development and Policy NoteAmankwah-Ayeh, Kwabena (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-03-28)This review concludes that for Togo's urban and peri-urban areas to sustainably grow, issues of urban governance and development need to be approached in a comprehensive manner, driven by well -guided policies developed in partnership with the people to support Sub-National Government Authorities and Entities(SGAs) in carrying out their functions efficiently. To meet evolving challenges of urbanization and decentralization, the Government of Togo (GoT) must rationalize the roles of various levels of government and agencies and limit their numbers to limit duplication, strengthen the capacities of relevant sector institutions and coordinate institutional actions and investments. It is further recommended that GoT must (i) clarify the roles and functions of national, prefectural, and local governments while ensuring that coordination functions between them work well; (ii) separate urban policy and regulatory functions from implementation of urban projects by allocating implementation responsibilities to private operators or qualified state agencies under performance-based arrangements; (iii) ensure proper allocation of taxing responsibilities, develop and implement transfer of financial resources from the central government to the local governments on a transparent basis supported by simple and precise criteria; and (iv) strengthen the central government s role in policy, regulatory, coordination, oversight and supervision. Contractualization of relationships between different tiers of government and benchmarking of performance must be prominent among the guiding principles that should govern the delivery of responsibilities of GoT, SGAs and their agencies. Finally, this necessary, first step stock-taking review of Togo s urban and peri-urban sector has revealed knowledge & data gaps that need to be filled through further analysis and studies on (a) infrastructure services provision needs as well as capacity to implement, operate and maintain them, (b) improving the functioning of the urban land market and shelter-related issues, (c) strengthening municipal financing, (d) developing city and local economic development strategies (CDS & LED), and (e) socio-economic and technical approaches to financing of slum upgrading.
City Development Strategy South Asia Region : Progress ReportWorld Bank (Washington, DC, 2014-06-23)This report highlights the discussion,
processes, lessons learned in examining innovative options
for participation by all stakeholders in seeking new social
and economic contracts between civil society and urban
governments. The improvement in relationships is geared
towards providing better services for urban poor and
directly contributing to urban poverty alleviation. The
report attempts to capture the new wave of enthusiasm and
entrepreneurial inclination to city management that is more
transparent and responsive to citizens as 'customers'.
Urban Environment and Infrastructure : Toward Livable CitiesDahiya, Bharat; Bigio, Anthony G. (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013-08-12)This review of the active portfolio of World Bank projects aimed at improving urban environmental quality was carried out during 2002-03 in order to assess the level of commitment of the institution to urban sustainability. The review focuses on the contributions of key sectors to urban environmental improvements, in particular on those belonging to the Infrastructure Vice-Presidency, and on how projects are contributing to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It also highlights some of the apparent gaps in current Bank lending in regional, spatial, and thematic terms and argues for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to urban environmental priorities, which could lead to better-integrated investments. The Bank corporate strategy on urban development (World Bank 2000a) addresses the urban environment as part of enhancing urban livability. The corporate environment strategy (World Bank 2001b) states its importance through its goals of improving the quality of life, improving the quality of growth, and protecting the quality of regional and global commons.