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Beyond Drainage: The role of SUDS in the mitigation of Urban Heat Island effects

Beyond Drainage: The role of SUDS in the mitigation of Urban Heat Island effects

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Published by m_fahmy2010
URSULA project, University of Sheffield
URSULA project, University of Sheffield

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Published by: m_fahmy2010 on Jul 17, 2011
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Beyond Drainage: The role of SUDS in the mitigation of UrbanHeat Island effects
S. L. Moore*, E. A. Hathway**, M. Fahmy*** and V. R. Stovin**
*URSULA project, University of Sheffield, ICOSS, 219 Portobello, Sheffield, S. Yorkshire S1 4DP, UK
**Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin Street, Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
***Department of Architecture, Military Technical College, Cairo, Egypt (E-mail:
In order to understand the interplay between SUDS design and the effects on microclimate, twodistinctive, hypothetical, urban designs have been created for a heavily urbanised UK case studyarea with a riverside location. The two hypothetical case-study designs have been analysed fortheir hydraulic and water quality performance, and the impact on microclimate using themodelling software tools MUSIC and ENVI-met respectively. The results of this work show thaturban greening through the use of SUDS has positive impacts not only on hydrology, but also onlocal air temperatures. The selection of, and the layout of, SUDS devices within the urban areaalso has an effect on both the hydraulic performance and the surrounding microclimate. This hasimplications for urban planning and site design.
Sustainable Drainage Systems, Urban Heat Island, Green Infrastructure.
The effect of urbanisation on both air temperatures and hydrology are well described (e.g.Biesbroek 2010). Urbanisation replaces vegetated surfaces which provide shading, evaporativecooling and rainwater interception, storage and infiltration functions with impervious surfaces.Urban greenspaces, such as those that can be created through the use of Green Infrastructure (GI)provide areas within the built environment where these processes can take place, and therefore offerpotential to help adapt areas to the effects of climate change and mitigate against urban heat island(UHI) effects.[a] network of multi-functional green space, both newand existing, both rural and urban, which supports the natural and ecological processes and isintegral to the health and quality of life of sustainable communities. GI comprises many forms; atall scales from individual green roofs or urban parks, to large scale regional parks.In the context of this paper, one potential manifestation of GI will be discussed, SustainableDrainage Systems (SUDS). SUDS is a generic term used in the UK to refer to various measuresaimed at controlling surface water runoff (and consequent flooding and pollution problems) fromurban catchments. Structural SUDS include green roofs, soakaways, swales, infiltration trenchesponds and wetlands. Internationally SUDS are variously referred to as Best Management Practices,Low Impact Design (LID) and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). Due to their reliance onnatural catchment processes, these technologiesunderground pipe and storage-based solutions.To date, most SUDS research has focussed on either the performance of SUDS structures (eg.Scholes
et al
. 2005) or the effect of a number of SUDS in series (treatment trains) (e.g Bastien
et al
.2010). Several studies have produced decision support tools to guide the user to select the mostappropriate SUDS for a range of implementation drivers (e.g. Cheng
et al
. 2009; Ellis
et al
. 2005;Stovin and Swan, 2007). However, less attention has been paid to the relationship between SUDS
and Urban Design (notable exceptions include Stahre, 2008 and Echols, 2007). Or the effect thatSUDS selection and placement have on not only their hydraulic and pollutant removal performance,but also on wider environmental and sustainability factors, such as microclimate. Despite the factthese multiple benefits are routinely cited.The urban microclimate is of significant importance to the health and wellbeing of city dwellers.Even the simple removal of vegetation adjacent to a property can increase the risk of mortalityduring heat waves (Vendentorren
et al.,
2006). Alongside vegetation removal, the increase in hardimpervious surfaces rapidly removes water from the immediate environment, preventing cooling by-wave radiation from escaping to the atmosphere, further heating up the locality (Grimmond andOke, 1999). There is much interest in reintroducing vegetation into urban areas to increase our citiesresilience to heat waves (Smith and Levermore, 2008). For instance, large parks have been shown toprovide significant levels of cooling in a variety of climates (e.g. Upmanis
et al.
, 1998; Jauregi,1990) yet how this propagates into the urban area depends on the local street design. There are alsoindications that smaller, distributed, green spaces provide benefits for propagating the naturalcooling into the urban area (Shashua-bar and Hoffman, 2000). Methods for distributing greencoverage in semi arid regions is covered by Fahmy (2010), however there is, as yet, no conclusiveguidance on the most appropriate form of green infrastructure for UHI mitigation in Europe.Guidance should be combined with an investigation of different distributions of SUDS measures toprovide integrated solutions for climate change resilience accounting for both heatwaves and rainstorms. This paper will focus on this question, quantifying the relative benefits of different designsfor water management and UHI mitigation. Furthermore it will focus on SUDS and show that thechoice of measures and the location of their deployment within the catchment can have implicationsfor their performance.
The case study site is an 11.3 ha urban area within Sheffield, UK. The site is bounded to the west,south and east by the River Don. Currently, the site is predominantly mixed use; there are manyplots that are vacant or underused. Away from the river channel and banks, there are few areas of green-space, much of the site is impermeable. In addition, the site has experienced flooding inrecent history.Two distinct hypothetical redevelopment scenarios for the site were developed by the URSULAproject (Figure 1). The aim of this process was to produce two highly contrasting designs that couldbe tested for a range of broad sustainability criteria. In order to aid the comparison of eachscenario, a baseline scenario, representing the case study site prior to regeneration, is alsomodelled. For the two scenarios, basic SUDS concepts were employed, therefore Natural drainagepathways are utilised; source control structures were sought wherever possible in preference toregional or offsite controls. Treatment trains were also employed where appropriate. Considerationof the local microclimate was also incorporated into the design by influencing the height / widthratios of the streets, stepped building heights next to open areas were included to reduce the risk of high wind speeds and vegetation, particularly trees were incorporated when it was in keeping withthe design ethos.
Figure 1. Conceptualisation of the URSULA redevelopment scenarios
. Urban forms designedby L. Pattacini and the URSULA design team. Maps © Crown Copyright/Digimap 2011. AnOrdnance Survey/EDINA supplied service.
The methodology employed within this study can be divided into the following sections:1.
Physical characterisation of each scenarios: Description of the land occupied by each keydesign feature, focusing primarily on the SUDS treatment trains2.
Hydrological: Evaluation of each SUDS scenario in terms of peak flow and total volumereduction for a range of rainfall profiles3.
Microclimate: Evaluation of the local wind speed, temperature, humidity and PredictedMean Vote (PMV), a measure of pedestrian comfort. Both designs are based in the samelocation, with identical climates, however in order to demonstrate the benefits of the systemsdifferent weather conditions are considered for the analysis of the hydrology and urban heatisland.
1) Physical characterisation of each scenario
The physical characteristics of each scenario were analysed from 2-D CAD representations in theGeographical Information System (GIS) software ArcView v9.3.
2) Hydrological evaluation
Surface water runoff for each SUDS scenario was modelled using MUSIC (Model for UrbanStormwater Improvement Conceptualisation). MUSIC is a hydrological model coupled with awater quality model, developed by Wong
et al.
(2006). Presented within this study are results for

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