Urban design adapted to climate change

Evidence-based planning for urban design adapted to climate change

According to the WHO, around 166,000 people worldwide died from heat-related causes between 1998 and 2017. Cities in particular heat up enormously. This phenomenon is called the urban heat island effect. The reasons for the increased temperature and heat storage are sealed surfaces and buildings, with the latter further aggravating the effect by impairing air circulation. Measures to counteract this, such as green spaces, fresh air corridors and shading, can reduce heat in cities and thus prevent deaths. It is the task of local authorities and urban planners to plan and implement these measures - in other words, to adapt urban design to climate change.

Fraunhofer IBP supports this process in a variety of ways through its research in the field of climate impact adaptation. For example, the institute's experts provide planning tools for evidence-based adaptation measures. Planners can use them to carry out urban climate simulations in order to calculate the effect of adaptation measures in advance. This enables planners to select and implement those measures that reduce overheating the most.


Our scientists also conduct research and provide assistance in the following areas:

  • Investigation and further development of the building physics potential of urban surfaces
  • Development of options for action and possible solutions in long-term models and concepts for municipal development (to mitigate hot spots, reduce long-term pollution)
  • Development of new technologies for urban surfaces to improve the quality of life and the environment, resource and energy efficiency and climate resilience
  • Implementation and impact of urban greenery and biodiversity
  • Evaluation of the thermal and visual comfort of urban spaces for different planning variants
  • Effects on energy consumption in districts due to changes in the microclimate resulting from various measures