Cooling Potential of Urban Vegetation: A Singapore Case Study
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Global populations and urban environments are continually expanding and as a result, environmental issues are arising with increasing commonality. Global temperatures are rising, causing widespread ecological issues as well as human health and safety concerns. Increasing human activity in urban areas causes a phenomenon known as ‘urban heat islands’ (UHI). UHIs are pockets of increased temperatures due to human activity and the nature of urban building materials to absorb and slowly disperse UV and IR radiation. To combat the effects of UHIs, cities employ the help of vegetation due to its natural cooling effect through shading and transpiration. Singapore was chosen as the subject of this study for their demographic as a densely populated & urbanized island, and their warm climate combined with a commitment to preserving natural biodiversity by integrating native vegetation into their cityscapes. The aim of this study is to assess the ability of vegetation to regulate the climate of its surrounding environment. Areas with high levels of canopy green cover are expected to exhibit lower diurnal temperatures than sites with low green cover. Statistical analysis revealed that the presence of green cover did not significantly impact daily temperature, though sites with high green cover did experience a smaller range of temperatures, which suggests that green cover may play a larger role in long term climate regulation than purely diurnal temperature reduction.
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