Which urban design parameters provide climate-proof cities? An application of the Urban Cooling InVEST Model in the city of Milan comparing historical planning morphologies

European & International Urban Policies

Which urban design parameters provide climate-proof cities? An application of the Urban Cooling InVEST Model in the city of Milan comparing historical planning morphologies

Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect has become one of the most significant hazards for cities, presenting a challenge for dense anthropic areas affected by climate change with enormous consequences for health and human well-being. Ecosystem Services (ES) are increasingly attracting attention for their use in setting urban design parameters and criteria which can be deployed in planning and projects, also considering the Cooling Capacity (CC) useful to mitigate heatwaves effect and high temperatures.

The paper investigates how ES assessment could support the definition of urban design parameters influencing the CC of cities. We modelled CC in the city of Milan using InVEST software identifying the urban design criteria that most influence temperature and associated urban comfort. This empirical test was conducted by selecting different urban districts built during four main historical periods which correspond to four urban planning approaches, namely: 1) Città Berutiana; 2) Città Moderna; 3) Città anni ‘60-’70 and 4) Città Contemporanea. Results demonstrate how different urban planning approaches have shaped the design of the city in terms of green areas, permeability, built-up footprint, and tree density and cover while influencing the CC of the system.