Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 197, 522-538

The Urban Heat Island Effect, Its Causes, and Mitigation, With Reference to the Thermal Properties of Asphalt Concrete


The Urban Heat Island Effect, Its Causes, and Mitigation, With Reference to the Thermal Properties of Asphalt Concrete

Abbas Mohajerani et al. J Environ Manage.


The Urban Heat Island (UHI) is a phenomenon that affects many millions of people worldwide. The higher temperatures experienced in urban areas compared to the surrounding countryside has enormous consequences for the health and wellbeing of people living in cities. The increased use of manmade materials and increased anthropogenic heat production are the main causes of the UHI. This has led to the understanding that increased urbanisation is the primary cause of the urban heat island. The UHI effect also leads to increased energy needs that further contribute to the heating of our urban landscape, and the associated environmental and public health consequences. Pavements and roofs dominate the urban surface exposed to solar irradiation. This review article outlines the contribution that pavements make to the UHI effect and analyses localized and citywide mitigation strategies against the UHI. Asphalt Concrete (AC) is one of the most common pavement surfacing materials and is a significant contributor to the UHI. Densely graded AC has low albedo and high volumetric heat capacity, which results in surface temperatures reaching upwards of 60 °C on hot summer days. Cooling the surface of a pavement by utilizing cool pavements has been a consistent theme in recent literature. Cool pavements can be reflective or evaporative. However, the urban geometry and local atmospheric conditions should dictate whether or not these mitigation strategies should be used. Otherwise both of these pavements can actually increase the UHI effect. Increasing the prevalence of green spaces through the installation of street trees, city parks and rooftop gardens has consistently demonstrated a reduction in the UHI effect. Green spaces also increase the cooling effect derived from water and wind sources. This literature review demonstrates that UHI mitigation techniques are best used in combination with each other. As a result of the study, it was concluded that the current mitigation measures need development to make them relevant to various climates and throughout the year. There are also many possible sources of future study, and alternative measures for mitigation have been described, thereby providing scope for future research and development following this review.

Keywords: Asphalt concrete; Pavements; Urban heat island; Urban heat island causes; Urban heat island consequences; Urban heat island mitigation measures.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 5 PubMed Central articles

LinkOut - more resources