Inter­na­tional Confer­ence of Urban Climate ICUC11: A perspec­tive towards climate-conscious construc­tion for build­ing resilience in cities

The ICUC meet­ings are preem­i­nent events for the presen­ta­tion of research on urban climate, at all scales. This confer­ence brings together a diverse inter­na­tional commu­nity of researchers, urban plan­ners, design­ers, and policymakers.

The World Mete­o­ro­log­i­cal Orga­ni­za­tion (WMO) and the Inter­na­tional Feder­a­tion for Housing and Plan­ning (IFHP) both ran success­ful inter­na­tional confer­ences on urban climate between the 1960s-80s. In 1989, these endeav­ours came together in the form of joint meet­ings under the name Inter­na­tional Confer­ence on Urban Clima­tol­ogy (ICUC). ICUC confer­ences are now held every 3 years and bring together more than 600 dele­gates from 55 countries.

This year the 11th ICUC confer­ence was held in Sydney, Australia, and success­fully brought together dele­gates from more than 60 nation­al­i­ties. Shammi Keya from Karelia UAS presented research find­ings supported by the ‘Sustain­able Build­ing Tech­nolo­gies- Commu­nity of Prac­tice’ (SBTCP) project titled ‘Built Envi­ron­ment and Urban Micro-climate: Inte­grat­ing Urban Built Envi­ron­ment and Micro-Climatic Effect Analy­sis for Energy Plan­ning in Cities’. 

Two photos form UNSW campus, with auditorium full on people and hallway
ICUC11 confer­ence was held in The Univer­sity of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, Australia.

Karelia UAS’s research presen­ta­tion in the ICUC11

The confer­ence activ­i­ties started on the 27th of August with a work­shop on data visu­al­iza­tion, which was then followed by five days of infor­ma­tive sessions on topics address­ing climate change, adap­ta­tion, miti­ga­tion, and resilience in build­ing and urban scale. 

The wide range of topics started from sessions on ‘Multi­scale model­ing tech­niques to docu­ment and respond to urban climate change’, ‘Urban climate methods: Cities in global and regional scale climate models’, ‘Inte­grated assess­ments of urban climate: Urban climate vulner­a­bil­ity in devel­op­ing coun­tries’, ‘Urban climate processes: Extreme weather and disas­ters in the urban envi­ron­ment’, ‘Climate change, Built Envi­ron­ment and Aging Society’, ‘Biome­te­o­rol­ogy & health: Indoor/Outdoor Thermal comfort’, ‘The cooling bene­fits of blue and green infra­struc­ture in cities’, ‘Extreme weather and climate in urban areas, their social impacts, and miti­ga­tion’, ‘Climate-conscious urban design and plan­ning for adap­ta­tion’, ‘Australian stories: Urban heat- Super­cool mate­ri­als for urban over­heat­ing miti­ga­tion’- research perspec­tive. ‘Local govern­ment and urban climate management/ Explor­ing co-bene­fits of inte­grated low-carbon urban plan­ning initia­tives’, ‘Urban climate and air pollu­tion’, ‘Phys­i­o­log­i­cal impacts of urban heat’, and ‘Climate-conscious design and sustain­able devel­op­ment: Build­ing climates & performance’.

The author of the article standing in a lecture room giving a presentation
Research outputs presen­ta­tion from the SBTCP project.

The topics presented/discussed addressed the urban heat islands; as with the chang­ing climatic condi­tions, the exces­sive heat waves in the urban areas are the most alarm­ing and notice­able phenom­ena, espe­cially in warmer climate coun­tries. The profes­sion­als and researchers addressed several ques­tions: Are some areas within cities becom­ing unlive­able? What solu­tions are viable? What is the heat miti­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion in the built envi­ron­ment? What are the imple­men­ta­tion possi­bil­i­ties of these tech­niques? How to ensure thermal comfort both indoors and outdoors? How to reduce GHG emis­sions through policy-making, build­ing design adap­ta­tion, and energy plan­ning in cities? – were asked. The sessions explored these ques­tions from research and imple­men­ta­tion perspec­tive, focus­ing on the status of adap­ta­tion, miti­ga­tion, and heat-related health outcomes and prepared­ness in differ­ent cities worldwide.

However, the need for zero energy devel­op­ment is crucial in cold and warm climate coun­tries; result­ing in more empha­sis on system­atic district heating and cooling on a city scale. Analyz­ing how differ­ent built envi­ron­ments can react to respec­tive exter­nal climatic condi­tions holds immense poten­tial to develop resilience for poten­tial extreme weather events. A better under­stand­ing of the micro-climate, socio-demo­graphic condi­tions, and the system’s ability to with­stand and adapt can poten­tially contribute to better climate-conscious design and plan­ning in cities.


Shammi Akter Keya, Project Researcher, Karelia Univer­sity of Applied Sciences

Cover photo: wire­stock on Freepik