KPF Environmental Performance Specialists Honeyksha Waghela and Erin Heidelberger present their findings during the 2024 PLEA conference in Wrocław, Poland.

The theme of the 2024 PLEA conference was (Re)Thinking Resilience.

Erin Heidelberger and Honeyksha Waghela, KPF Environmental Performance Specialists.

In addition to presenting original research, KPF joined a panel discussion on nature-based solutions for climate resilience.

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KPF’s Environmental Performance Team Presents Extreme Heat and Urban Walkability Research

Erin Heidelberger and Honeyksha Waghela, KPF Environmental Performance Specialists, shared their research on modelling the effect of rising temperatures on pedestrian experience at the 2024 Passive and Low-Energy Architecture conference.

A collaboration between KPF’s Environmental Performance and Urban Interface teams, the research paper Enhancing Urban Walkability in Extreme Heat: Climate Adjusted Walkability Metrics explores how hotter outdoor temperatures, especially in warm climates, impact the experience of urban walkability and puts forward a new workflow for modelling pedestrian behavior based on perceived temperatures.

In a warming world, incidences of extreme heat are becoming more common and more dangerous, posing an especially acute problem in cities that already experience high temperatures such as those found in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Extremely high temperatures in cities threaten urban vibrancy, street activity, pedestrianism, and livability, not to mention human health. Understanding how perceived comfort impacts walkability and being able to measure and model the impact of design interventions are essential to creating dynamic urban environments that are resilient to rising temperatures.

KPF’s paper, authored by Erin Heidelberger, Honeyksha Waghela, Eric Pietraszkiewicz, and Carlos Cerezo Davila, proposes a new simulation metric and representation method to assess and design for climate-adjusted walkability metrics by considering how perceived temperatures modify willingness to walk, walking speed, and walking time. The paper then applies the workflow to an example project in the Middle East. In addition to presenting their research, Erin and Honeyksha participated in a panel discussion on nature-based solutions for climate resilience.

PLEA is an organization engaged in a world-wide discourse on sustainable architecture and urban design through annual international conferences, workshops, and publications. The 2024 conference was titled (Re)Thinking Resilience and took place between June 25 and June 28 at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland.