Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Factors to Consider When Designing Public Spaces in Cold regions

Learn more about the factors to consider when designing public spaces in cold regions.
Architecture in Kiruna, Sweden, designed by architect Ralph Erskine.

Cold regions can be defined as regions with an average temperature below 0°C for an extended part of the year. Summers can be either cool to comfortable, or hot and humid.

In designing urban spaces, it is important to consider the following:

  • All year round public spaces.
  • Wind protection.
  • Solar access.
  • Icy surfaces.
  • Rain.
  • Darkness.
  • Snow removal.

Street patterns and the placing of buildings need to take sun and wind into account. Sidewalks and open spaces should be shaded during summer, but afford solar exposure during winter. Exposure of southern winds during summer should be maximised, while northern winds during winter should be minimized.


Larsson, Agneta. & Chapman, David (2020). Perceived impact of meteorological conditions on the use of public space in winter settlements. International Journal of Biometeorology. 64, 631–642.

Givoni, Baruch (1998). Climate considerations in building and urban design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

This article is from the free online

Placemaking and Public Space Design: Unlocking Design Potential

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education