Urban heat is a growing environmental concern in cities around the world. The urban heat island effect, combined with warming effects of climate change, is likely to cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events. Alterations to the physical, built environment are a viable option for mitigating urban heat, yet few studies provide systematic guidance to practitioners for adapting diverse land uses. In this study, we examine the use of green infrastructure treatments to evaluate changes in ambient temperatures across diverse land uses in the city of Portland, Oregon. We apply ENVI-met®
microclimate modeling at the city-block scale specifically to determine what built environment characteristics are most associated with high temperatures, and the extent to which different physical designs reduce ambient temperature. The analysis included six green infrastructure interventions modeled across six different land-use types, and indicated the varying degrees to which approaches are effective. Results were inconsistent across landscapes, and showed that one mitigation solution alone would not significantly reduce extreme heat. These results can be used to develop targeted, climate- and landscape-specific cooling interventions for different land uses, which can help to inform and refine current guidance to achieve urban climate adaptation goals.
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