Cooling Singapore: Addressing the Urban Heat Challenge in Singapore

The research has shown that an integrated combination of approaches will be needed to reduce the rapid rise in Singapore’s temperature.


Cooling Singapore is a multi-institute, multi-agency project to develop and apply integrative solutions to address the urban heat challenge in Singapore. Singapore’s urban areas can be up to 7 degrees Celsius warmer than their rural surroundings and reducing the heat in a sustainable way is urgently needed in the age of climate change.

The overall objective is to determine which cooling approaches – and their combination – would work best in reducing urban heat risks over different parts of Singapore. In SMU, the aim is to ascertain how these models are properly validated for Singapore’s climate and urban context.

Features and Benefits

At this stage of the project, the aim is to assess combinations of heat reduction approaches (such as more green spaces, more shade, better urban design, new and innovative building materials, cooling technologies, transport options, etc.) using a variety of validated climate, energy, transport and building models that realistically represent changes in the ambient environment, and apply them in a digital urban climate twin for stakeholders like governmental agencies to see the cooling impact of such approaches before deciding on a policy for a given area.

We use innovative platforms like a mobile micrometeorological cart (SMaRTy) to measure and collect environmental data about how much thermal discomfort a person can experience as they walk across the city, and use these data to validate models for the digital urban climate twin.

Higher temperatures in Singapore means more negative impacts, such as greater thermal discomfort, heat risks for people who spend time outdoors, and higher air conditioning costs. Our research, with our partners in ETH Zurich, National University of Singapore, National Technological University, Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help to provide important information in effective integrated solutions to the urban heat challenge throughout Singapore.

This research has shown that an integrated combination of approaches targeting increased green (vegetated) and blue (water) spaces, smarter urban design and planning, and new energy-efficient technologies in the industrial, construction and transport sectors in Singapore will be needed to reduce the rapid rise in Singapore’s temperatures.

Lead Researcher: Assoc Prof Winston Chow (SMU College of Integrative Studies)

Learn more on the Cooling Singapore Project here .

Keen to be a part of the Cooling Singapore Project? Find out how you can participate here .

This study was featured at SMU’s booth at the World Cities Summit 2022 exhibition.