Urban Canopy Concept Could Help Cool Overheating Cities

Urban Canopy Concept Could Help Cool Overheating Cities
Design

Blank Studio Design + Architecture has devised a plan to keep urban spaces livable in a future of rising planetary temperatures

Cristina DiGiacomo
  • 12 january 2017

The Jacaranda Avenue project by Blank Studio Design + Architecture, a Phoenix architecture firm, has designed a scheme to create a man-made canopy that drapes over city streets. Answering a contest from the American Institute of Architects, the firm conceptualized a car-free, garden-filled, “seven miles of desert shaded landscape corridors.”

The temperature in Phoenix during the summer can be a blistering 107 degrees, forcing residents inside for months at a time. Part of the reason is a double whammy of environmental causes—an urban asphalt landscape coupled with a desert location. Concrete buildings and roads absorb, retain and radiate heat, called the heat island effect. The EPA states that in cities with populations of over one million people, temperatures can be anywhere from 1.8–5.4°F warmer than surrounding rural areas during the day and up to 22°F warmer at night. The heat island effect results is an increased use of energy from air conditioner use, and dangerous conditions for man, flora and fauna.

There are approximately 500 cities in the world with populations over one million, according to The Globalist. So there is no shortage of need and opportunities to replicate this urban planner’s dream idea.

The Urban Canopy follows what nature has deftly designed to keep the earth cool: the structure and grace of trees. The canopy is made out of sisal which is lightweight and durable, attached to a frame with flexible parts that sway with the wind. The crisscross hatching of the rope canopy diffuses sunlight to a degree that streets are now shady but without completely losing the brilliance of natural light.

blankstudio_jacaranda_AIA_canopy_schematic.jpg

blankstudio_jacaranda_schematic_ropecanopy_gallery.jpg

In addition to the canopy, the firm designed a pedestrian-only use of streets and created small canals to collect rainfall and that would redistribute water from buildings to irrigate nearby land. It is a holistic intervention that addresses Phoenix’s environmental challenges while maintaining its unique identity, and with an eye toward the city’s future.

“Riparian habitats are encouraged, and urban wildlife will take hold. The aroma of creosote and sage, steaming asphalt, and moistened soils – this essence forms the very basis of next Phoenix,” the firm said.

Blank Studio Design + Architecture

The Jacaranda Avenue project by Blank Studio Design + Architecture, a Phoenix architecture firm, has designed a scheme to create a man-made canopy that drapes over city streets. Answering a contest from the American Institute of Architects, the firm conceptualized a car-free, garden-filled, “seven miles of desert shaded landscape corridors.”

+cities
+Cities
+Design
+Sustainability
+USA

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