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A Review of Climate Change Impacts on the Built Environment

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There is growing consensus that the populations, infrastructure and ecology of cities are at risk from the impacts of climate change. This review collates evidence of effects in four main areas: urban ventilation and cooling, urban drainage and flood risk, water resources, and outdoor spaces (including air quality and biodiversity). It is shown that built areas exert considerable influence over their local climate and environment, and that urban populations are already facing a range of weather-related risks such as heat waves, air pollution episodes and flooding. Although climate change is expected to compound these problems, building designers and spatial planners are responding through improved building design and layout of cities. For example, green roofs and spaces provide multiple benefits for air quality, mitigating excessive heat and enhancing biodiversity. Hard engineering solutions will continue to play a role in adapting to climate change, but so too will improved forecasting and preparedness, along with risk avoidance through planning controls. There is also an over-arching need for higher-resolution weather data for testing future performance of buildings, urban drainage and water supply systems at city scales.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 13, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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