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Buildings 2015, 5(3), 783-801;

The Mitigative Potential of Urban Environments and Their Microclimates

Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (FABE), University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LS, UK
Filippo Weber Architects, Milan 20121, Italy
Building Environmental Research Group, Physics Department, University of Athens, Athens 15784, Greece
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Dernie
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings, Design and Climate Change)
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Cities play a crucial role in climate change: More than 50% of the growing population lives in cities producing most of the global GDP but also 78% of greenhouse gases (GHG) responsible for climate change. Moreover, due to their highly modified land-use and intensive activities, cities are at the forefront of the most rapid environmental and climatic change ever experienced by mankind. Yet, cities’ potential to mitigate both climate change and their own environment is underexploited. This paper explores ideas related to the potential of urban environments to modify their microclimates, reflecting on the overlapping potential between mitigative and adaptive actions. These actions in cities can not only tackle some of the largest contributing factors to global climate change but offer short- to medium-term benefits that could drive more immediate socioeconomic and behavioral changes. This review proposes and discusses a new preliminary definition of urban environments as microclimate modifiers—Mitigative urban Environments and Microclimates (MitEM)—and calls for further research into: (a) inter-connecting the full range of mitigative and adaptive initiatives already being undertaken in many cities and maximizing their input systemically; (b) developing a common and holistic definition of MitEM; (c) promoting its uptake at policy level and amongst the key stakeholders, based on its social and public value beyond the environmental. View Full-Text
Keywords: mitigation; passive buildings; urban environments; human behavior; mitigative urban environments; urban heat island mitigation; passive buildings; urban environments; human behavior; mitigative urban environments; urban heat island

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Schiano-Phan, R.; Weber, F.; Santamouris, M. The Mitigative Potential of Urban Environments and Their Microclimates. Buildings 2015, 5, 783-801.

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