Urban heat island mitigation strategies: A state-of-the-art review on Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong

Ardalan Aflaki, Mahsan Mirnezhad, Amirhosein Ghaffarianhoseini, Ali Ghaffarianhoseini, Hossein Omrany, Zhihua Wang, Hashem Akbari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


Observing the rapid urban expansions and numerous infrastructure developments in the East-Asian context, many cities are suffering the urban heat island (UHI) effect and its associated environmental and social challenges. Moreover, the lack of sufficient attention to the application of effective heat mitigation strategies in current urban development in these cities can drastically intensify the eventual impacts of UHI. Therefore, many governmental sectors and policy makers have been implementing operative solutions for cooling cities. Nevertheless, this study argues that in Kuala Lumpur, despite the growing attention to this matter, there is still a need for more rigorous consideration by the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals as well as more scholarly studies to reflect sustainable solutions to the UHI effect. As a result, today, some of the dense urban areas in Kuala Lumpur are characterized with the use of thermally massive building materials, urban surfaces with low albedo, complex urban morphology, waste heat, and low density of vegetation. On the other hand, recent studies demonstrate that there has been a rapidly increasing interest in studies related to UHI in other East Asian regions such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Hence, this study develops a comparative analysis to provide a state-of-the-art review of the recent attempts towards mitigating the UHI effect in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Among several available UHI mitigation strategies, this study is limited to the analysis of the environmental impacts of urban vegetation (green roofs, green facades, vertical greeneries and green pavements). Findings reveal that in general, urban greening can significantly mitigate the UHI intensity, both directly and indirectly, resulting in the decrease of global air temperature and mean radiant temperature up to 4 °C and 4.5 °C respectively. Overall, the study develops new practical guidelines, discusses the public benefits and elaborates on the future directions of UHI studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • City green areas
  • Heat mitigation strategies
  • High-density urban area
  • Outdoor temperature
  • Urban heat island (UHI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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