Iloilo City buildings, trees survey vs. urban heat

The Iloilo Esplanade is one of the sites for the micro-climate modelling initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development and the UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry.(Photo Courtesy of Paulo Alcazaren)

Iloilo is one of seven recipient cities undergoing the building and vegetation annotation survey being conducted in downtown area and along the banks of the waterway until Nov. 29, 2019.

The data gathered will then be used for the micro-climate modeling of two sub-sites, Calle Real central business district and Iloilo River Esplanade, the longest landscaped linear park in the country.

The project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). It is implemented by the UP Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry.

To find ways to mitigate the harmful effects of rising temperatures, they are assessing the development of urban heat islands in rapidly urbanizing and highly urbanized cities in the Philippines using satellites and modeling-simulation techniques.

“A city experiences an urban heat island effect when it has warmer temperatures than nearby rural areas. The materials used in the construction of buildings and establishments and the lack of trees and vegetation affect the distribution and persistence of heat in a city,” DOST-PCIEERD said in a statement.

“Warmer temperatures increase energy consumption, emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, impair water quality, and compromise human health and comfort,” it added.

The project also aims to build and enhance the capacity of City Governments in incorporating thermal environment conditions in planning and development towards the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal Number 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Project GUHeat or “Geospatial Assessment and Modeling of Urban Heat Islands in Philippine Cities” will harness the power of thermal images from satellites to help the government minimizes the warming of urban heat islands.

The initiative will “even reverse it (urban heat) to decrease electricity consumption and air pollution, reduce health risks and diseases, that will result to greater livability of our cities,” said Project Leader Dr. Ariel Blanco.

They will develop Geographic Information System (GIS)-based methods and tools to map, model, and characterize UHIs that are easy-to-use by cities which can be accessed through a web-based GIS.

Blanco said they use unmanned aerial systems that have thermal cameras to thoroughly map and determine the changes in Land Surface Temperature (LST) over time. They also laser-scan the cities to produce 3D models for simulation, through which, they will be able to explore possible scenarios and be ready with urban-heat-mitigating measures.

They are studying and evaluating the LST of six other cities of Quezon, Baguio, Cebu, Mandaue, Zamboanga, and Davao using satellite imageries in order to assess the effect of urban heat. (Iloilo City PIO)