Combatting Heat Using Public Art

Through the use of curated public art installations, this project aims to reduce the Urban Heat Island effect in the area surrounding Creekside Community Centre. Partnering with local artists, shade structures and reflective white paint murals on the impervious surfaces will help to reduce surface temperatures, provide shade in extreme heat events, and encourage public engagement in the outdoor spaces.






Green Cities (PLAN 351)


  • James Connolly

City of Vancouver:

  • Luke Balson

Student Team:

  • Ryan Carpio
  • Vanessa Chan
  • Salma Said
  • Clarice Tuai
  • Timothy Wong


  • VanPlay


Spring 2023


Our project looks at outdoor design interventions as a solution to reducing the Urban Heat Island effect in the Olympic Village area, specifically looking at Creekside Community Centre. Surface temperatures in this area are disproportionately high compared to the rest of Vancouver. This can be attributed to the extensive amounts of concrete surface in the surrounding areas which tend to absorb solar heat radiation. The intervention of public art can potentially respond to the heat challenge in three ways. First, the public art structures would provide an increased shade coverage area. Second, regarding use of white paint for murals on sidewalks, recent research has shown that Barium Sulphate (BaSO4-) acrylic paint has a high electron band gap for low solar absorption and has proven its effectiveness in high solar reflectance and radiative cooling. Thirdly, both of these lead to increased access to heat mitigation interventions in a feasible manner, in which they consider the existing conditions of areas that are vulnerable and prone to heat, providing access for relief while also contributing to the mitigation of the Urban Heat Island. With this intervention, we plan to refer to City of Vancouver guidelines and policies to engage with inclusive short and long term implementations. Such as involving grant-based applications for local artists, as well as community stakeholders and the city’s public art committees in public art planning. Our project hopes to achieve the potential outcomes of decreasing the urban heat island and heat.

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