Cooling cities. Climate Adaptation Design to Extreme Heat.

November 5, 2021 11:00 am – 12:30 pm EST | 8:00 am – 9:30am PST | Watch recording

ZPH Session: Cooling cities. Climate Adaptation Design to Extreme Heat will be moderated by Edith Katz, Landscape Architect, Educator, Writer, and Research Associate affiliated with the Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund Grant 2021-2023 with Martha Schwartz to study Linear Urban Forests (LUF).

This session will introduce the topic of cooling cities as a climate change adaptation response to extreme heat through a design and health focus, using distinct cities from diverse climates as case studies: Baltimore, Stockton, and Singapore. Speakers will present research and strategies for these cities. Cooling Singapore will be presented by Prof. Gerhard Schmitt from ETH Zürich, and the case for cooling Baltimore and Stockton will be presented by Greg Kats from Smart Surfaces Coalition.

Cooling Singapore, is an ongoing multi-institutional research project led by Singapore ETH-Centre, to develop solutions to address the urban heat and climatic challenges in Singapore, a tropical and densely populated city-state.

The cases for cooling Baltimore and Stockton are part of research work from the Smart Surfaces Coalition and based on their recently published report: Cooling Cities, Slowing Climate Change and Enhancing Equity: Costs and Benefits of Smart Surfaces Adoption for Baltimore.




Edith Katz

Landscape Architect, Educator, Researcher, and Writer.
Research Associate Harvard Climate Change Solutions Fund Grant 2021-2023 with Martha Schwartz to study Linear Urban Forests (LUF).

Designer, Educator, Researcher and Writer, licensed Landscape Architect in NM USA, with advanced degrees in Landscape Architecture and Landscape Urbanism. Currently focussed upon reversing, repairing and regenerating the Earth’s climate system through natural based and technological solutions that add a visionary direction to urban landscape proposals for performative landscapes. Design investigations include climate responsive solutions for complex international high profile sites. On-going research, writing and education delves into the role of landscape to further advance CO2 emission reductions and decarbonization of the atmosphere.

Gerhard Schmitt

Gerhard Schmitt is Professor for Information Architecture and Director of the Singapore-​ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.

Since 2006, Gerhard Schmitt concentrates on the definition and design of Information Architecture (IA) as the next level of Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD). The creation of a simulation, visualization and interaction platform for Future Cities is at the centre of his research. Gerhard Schmitt established the CAAD curriculum and research program since 1988 when he became Professor at ETH Zurich. His courses included design computing and programming, collaborative and shared authorship design, and global virtual design studios. His research focused on the development of intelligent design support systems, using artificial intelligence methods.

From 1998-​2008 he was Vice President for Planning and Logistics of ETH Zurich. In 2000, he initiated the development of a third, virtual campus, named ETH World with an international master plan competition. In 2003, he devised the concept for Science City, ETH’s new campus in Zurich; in 2004, he initiated the development of the master plan; in 2006, the international competition for the best integrated urban scale sustainability concept; and in 2007, the energy concept to reduce CO2 output by 60% in 10 years.

Since 2018 he leads the Cooling Singapore project, since 2015 the Big Data informed Urban Design project and the Responsive Cities Scenario at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. From 2010 to 2015 he led the Simulation Platform at the Singapore-​ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory. From 1984 to 1988 he pursued CAAD research and teaching at Carnegie Mellon University. He was Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, at DTU, the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby and at the Technical University of Delft.

From 1994-​1996 he was Dean of the Faculty and Department of Architecture at ETH, president of ETH’s Informatics Commission 1989-​1997, President of the Swiss Computer Graphics association 1996-​1998, Vice President of the Board of the HMT, the Zurich Academy for Music, Theater and Ballet, President of the Foundation Board of the Studienzentrum Pfäffikon, President of the Scientific Advisory Board of Distance Learning Switzerland FS-​CH, and Chairman of the Visiting Committee of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University 2004-​2007.

Greg Kats

Greg has played a substantial role in developing the clean energy, green building and decarbonization industries as a long-time thought leader and impact investor. He founded the Smart Surface Coalition in 2019 to slow global warming, redress social inequity and build urban resilience. He is President of Capital E which invests in clean energy startups and helps institutions design, scale and implement clean energy and decarbonization.

Greg served as Managing Director of Good Energies, a several billion-dollar global clean energy PE/VC fund investing in clean energy and low carbon companies. He served for 5 years as the Director of Financing for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy. Greg played a large role in designing and developing LEED, the green building standard, and received the first US Green Building Council Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was the Founding Chairman of IPMVP and built the Protocol into the global energy and water efficiency design and verification standard for $50 billion in building upgrades. Greg received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alliance to Save Energy. He chaired a congressionally established advisory board which guides the greening and energy efficiency of 430,000 federal buildings, and served on a National Academy of Sciences board on strengthening US global competitiveness.  Greg is co-developer and Founding Chairman of the CarbonStar standard- the first international standard on carbon in concrete. He is a cofounder of both the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the country’s first green bank.

Greg is the author of widely referenced studies on the cost effectiveness of greening infrastructure, including the book Greening Our Built World; Costs Benefits and Strategies.  He consults and testifies on topics related to clean energy, green cities and financing issues, including before/with the US Congress, the World Bank, the Knesset, the UN, and the National Academy of Sciences. Greg earned an MBA from Stanford University and is a Certified Energy Manager. He has served on a dozen clean energy/decarbonization corporate boards, including Blue Planet. Solar PV powers his family home and electric car.

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