Hyderabad: Most discussions of the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon, wherein ambient temperatures in urban areas is significantly higher than nearby rural areas due to anthropogenic reasons, has generally revolved around ‘cool roofs.’
However, experts attending a conference on UHI in Hyderabad on Wednesday said this solution could not be considered a comprehensive answer to UHI.
The concept refers to the coating or painting of roofs of buildings with a material that can reflect sunlight, thereby keeping interiors cool.
The roof could be covered in reflective paint, tiles or even plastic sheets.
It may be noted that Telangana has a cool roof programme, which envisions covering 30,00,000 sqms of roofs over five years in Hyderabad.
The Telangana State government has actively promoted it to counter the effects of heatwaves.
Speaking in a panel discussion, Rajashree Kotharkar, head, department of architecture and planning at VNIT, Nagpur, said, “The concept of an urban heat island, or urban climate, is very complex. As an architect and urban planner, it is not just the delta T (change in temperature) that is a concern to me. It is more important to understand which area of a city is getting warmer, at what time of the day, and what is required to improve the situation.”
Kotharkar said plans of urban development, and development in general, need to “completely climate-sensitive.”
She argued that there needs to be an overhaul in thinking of policy frameworks. She suggested that properties in areas where environmental damage is high should be taxed higher.
“A variable taxation plan would limit development in a sensitive area,” she said, adding, “Not all people in a city are culprits. We have seen that the actions of a few people affect a majority,” Kotharkar said....