The Amsterwarm project investigates the urban heat island of Amsterdam, the vulnerability of its population, the energy efficiency of its buildings and landuse.
A novel mapping approach provides insights into the questions of what causes the urban heat island and who will be affected by it. Landuse does affect the surface temperature. The difference between the areas in the city with the least and the greatest impervious surface coverage accounts for an average land surface temperature difference of 11.6 per hectare. The study demonstrates furthermore that the vulnerability of people and buildings to the urban heat island effect is a local condition in which the energy efficiency of buildings, quality of life and demographic factors should all be considered in an approach that is sensitive to place. Practical application: The typological maps will allow local authorities to prioritise adaptive actions in urban planning in response to the urban heat island, an emerging climate-related challenge that has a significant impact on the comfort and health of its citizens and on the (future) energy use required for cooling buildings. Raising the albedo in those areas of the city that are dominated by impervious surface cover seems an effective adaptation strategy, suitable to a city such as Amsterdam that no longer builds on green field sites but only builds as possible within the envelope of the existing city. Improving the quality of life in neighbourhoods and the energy efficiency/climate proofing of the building stock could also be prioritised in the identified neighbourhoods.