Centre of Applied Research Technology

Cooling Urban Water Environments: Design Prototypes for Design Professionals


This paper presents five design prototypes for cool urban water environments developed in the 'Really cooling water bodies in cities' (REALCOOL) project. The REALCOOL prototypes address an urgent need: urban water bodies, such as ponds or canals, are often assumed to cool down their surroundings during days with heat stress, whereas recent research shows that this is not always the case and that urban water bodies may actually have warming effects too.

There are, however, indications that shading, vaporising water, and proper ventilation can keep water bodies and their surroundings cooler. Yet, it is necessary to explore how these strategies can be optimally combined and how the resulting design guidelines can be communicated to design professionals. The REALCOOL prototypes communicate the spatial layout and biometeorological effects of such combinations and assist design decisions dealing with urban water environments. The micrometeorological simulations with Envi­met showed that the prototypes led to local reductions on daytime PET from 1 °C to 7 °C, upon introducing shade. Water mist and fountains were also cooling solutions. The important role of ventilation was confirmed. The paper discusses and concludes about the use of the prototypes as tools for urban design practice.

Reference Cortesão, J., Lenzholzer, S., Klok, L., Jacobs, C., & Kluck, J. (2018). Cooling Urban Water Environments: Design Prototypes for Design Professionals. In E. Ng, S. Fong, & C. Ren (Eds.), PLEA 2018: Smart and Healthy Within the Two-Degree Limit: Proceedings of the 34th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture (Vol. 2, pp. 520-525). Article 1190.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 1 January 2018

Publication date

Jan 2018


João Cortesão
Sanda Lenzholzer
Lisette Klok
Cor Jacobs


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