Skip main navigation

Climate change impact on urban design

In this article, Dr David Chapman discusses how climate change impacts urban design.
View over water with buildings in the background and art work in foreground
© Photo by David Chapman
Global warming was first discussed in the 1930s, and is attributed to human activity by most researchers. In brief, climate change is caused by the emission of pollutants known as greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The magnitude of the climate change depends on the identity and quantity of the gases that are emitted. One outcome of the so called Paris Agreement, adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2015, is the need to limit the increase in the global temperature.

One factor determining emissions is land use and land cover. Therefore, the planning, structure and form of our cities have an impact on gaseous emissions. The form of settlements and the mobility choices they facilitate influence transport emissions and therefore affect climate change.

Climate change will also affect the seasons as well as the micro-climate. Depending on the climate zone, vegetation and precipitation will gradually change. Extreme weather, such as heat waves, thunderstorms, or flooding, will occur more frequently.

This article is from the free online

Placemaking and Public Space Design: Unlocking Place Potential

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now