Innovation That Matters

In one recent project, ECOTEN categorised Czech railway stations to analyse their performance for sustainability | Photo source ECOTEN urban comfort

Mapping urban heat vulnerability

Architecture & Design

Urban environmental consultants have developed a platform that helps them to assess urban heat island effects and design solutions

Spotted: Today, most of the world’s large metropolitan cities are facing multiple climate change-related issues. Czech company ECOTEN Urban Comfort is using a data-driven approach to help cities adjust by designing greener, cooler, healthier cities. The environmental engineering company is a spinoff of green building consultancy ECOTEN (Smart Energy Solutions). It provides tailored services and works to help urban developers build more resilient cities in a number of ways.

One is by conducting urban heat vulnerability assessments. These identify critical hotspots to allow decision-makers to implement heat mitigation strategies more efficiently. The company also conducts urban microclimate simulations to assess the microclimate impacts of potential urban projects. The goal of each is to protect citizens and provide a more comfortable urban environment.

ECOTEN assesses heat impacts and vulnerabilities using satellite data from Landsat and Sentinel satellites. Engineers then develop nature-based solutions, such as water features and vegetation, to cool down hotspots. Computer simulations of the microclimate in different areas are used to find efficient solutions to mitigate urban heat islands.

The company describes its approach as ‘technical data-driven’, and their goal is to “strive to improve people’s quality of life by designing greener, cooler, healthier cities.” The company adds that they “are convinced that the future of our planet will depend on the ability of our cities to adapt, and we must use everyone’s potential to build those resilient cities.” ECOTEN hopes to empower cities to tackle climate change challenges through innovative engineered solutions, while also improving the quality of life for urban residents.

In addition to projects such as analysing the performance of smart railways in the Czech Republic and assessing the heat vulnerable districts in Vienna, ECOTEN has also created maps that locate COVID testing centres, health care facilities, and clusters of high-risk individuals for highly affected cities who use the information to implement smart initiatives. In the future, perhaps heat-mapping data could also be combined with wayfinding apps to help people avoid the hottest areas. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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