Comfort in the city

Explanation of the problem

When it is hot, comfort decreases in many areas within the built environment, especially because it is often warmer there than outside the city. This makes urban outdoor spaces unpleasant for living, shopping, or recreation. This applies to all users of the city: residents, workers, travellers, and tourists. It applies to all locations in public spaces (shopping streets, residential streets, bus stops, parking lots, platforms, stations, market squares, walking and cycling routes, intersections), but also on private properties and in private gardens, particularly in places where the perceived temperature is high.

City planners, in particular, can ensure that the city remains cool and that there are enough cool spots in residential areas, city centres, and office areas where the perceived temperature is pleasant for people to stay.

Information and maps for better understanding

Basic maps according to the standardized stress test

  • Detailed heat map of the perceived temperature on a hot day Climate Impact Atlas) → provides insight into areas where it may be uncomfortable during hot days.

Additional maps

  • Map showing the number of summer or tropical days now and in the future (Climate Impact Atlas) → gives an indication of the increase in the number of days when comfort in the city decreases.
  • Maps with area functions → to determine which areas (residential, working, recreational) need to be adequately cool.
  • Shade analyses → to determine where there may be insufficient shade for a pleasant and cool environment.
  • Inventory of cool spots → to determine where pleasant places like city beaches, fountains, and parks are to stay during hot days.
  • Distance-to-coolness maps → to determine which areas are at an insufficient distance from a cool spot.
  • Map of drinking water supply points drinking water map → to determine where there are sufficient and insufficient drinking water supply points.

Some measures and guidelines

  • Spatial adaptation to keep outdoor temperatures and perceived temperatures low: establishment of shade, trees, greenery, specific water features, and other materials to keep outdoor temperatures and perceived temperatures low and to provide enough places in the city where cooling can be found (see, for example,
    urban green blue grids for resilient cities | hitte=heat)).
  • Establish gardens that provide sufficient cooling (see, for example, Huisje Boompje Beter (in Dutch)).
  • Improve accessibility and usage possibilities of public green spaces.
  • Create more cooling outdoor spaces such as parks, city beaches, wading pools, water playgrounds, benches, and seating areas in the shade.
  • Install free water supply points (free drinking water supply points – map of the Netherlands).