Strategic Plan for Urban Heat Island Mitigation in the Houston Area

The Cool Houston Plan sets forth comprehensive strategies to mitigate regional urban heat island effects (UHI) within 10 to 15 years. The Houston region, with over 5 million people, is located in a hot, humid coastal climate with continuing development of existing land, low development densities, high cooling energy costs, and difficult air quality problems that can be addressed partially through UHI countermeasures. The extent and magnitude of the region’s heat island has expanded measurably as the region has grown. A revised air quality plan is being prepared, designed to meet federal ozone standards by 2010. Green infrastructure and energy policies that will help to offset heat island effects are being instituted by several governmental agencies in the region.

Features of Houston’s strategic heat island mitigation plan include:

  • Comprehensive regional urban heat island strategy
  • Regionally-based, rather than central city
  • Land cover orientation as a 2-D strategy for changing suitable urban surfaces to reduce heat island effects
  • Based on current, readily available (not future) mitigation technologies
  • Reliance on current policy frameworks suited to Houston and Texas
  • Reliance on “business as usual” changes as much as possible
  • Published for general public and decision maker audiences


Suggested citation or credit:

Hitchcock, David. Houston Advanced Research Center, “Strategic Plan for Urban Heat Island Mitigation in the Houston Region.” Last modified July, 2006. http://files.harc.edu/Projects/CoolHouston/Presentations/UrbanHeatIslandMitigation.pdf.


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Source: Houston Advanced Research Center

Publication Date: July 2006

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