Urban climate awareness and urgency to adapt: An international overview

Sanda Lenzholzer, Gerrit Jan Carsjens, Robert D. Brown, Silvia Tavares, Jennifer Vanos, You Joung Kim, Kanghyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Urban climate manifests itself through thermal and wind environments specific to cities and can cause wind danger or overheating. Cities can benefit from preventing these effects through adaptation measures. However, before any action can be taken in improving these urban climate conditions, an awareness of the problems is needed. Numerous studies show that there is awareness of urban climate extremes as a problem, yet that knowledge lacks amongst different actors in society, and may further differ between countries. Therefore, we conducted an international study on the awareness levels regarding urban climate phenomena and the sense of urgency to act within four groups: citizens, local politicians, urban planners and designers, and urban climate experts. Semi-structured interviews with experts in ten countries worldwide were conducted. Results indicate that the urgency to adapt to climate change was acknowledged rather equally for the four groups of actors. In contrast, awareness of urban climate phenomena (urban heat islands and urban wind patterns) amongst citizens and politicians is rather low in most countries. Amongst urban planners and designers and the urban climate experts we observed a generally high awareness regarding urban climate phenomena. Raising awareness requires tailor-made strategies for specific needs of the different actor groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100667
JournalUrban Climate
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Awareness
  • Climate change
  • International
  • Societal actors
  • Urban heat island
  • Urban wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science


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