22 December 2015

CUHK Presents Croucher Advanced Study Institute on Urban Climate and Urban Thermal Comfort



The Institute of Future Cities (IOFC) and the School of Architecture (SoA) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) presented the Croucher Advanced Study Institute on ‘Changing Urban Climate and the Impact on Urban Thermal Environment and Urban Living’ recently to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and academic exchange on the themes of urban climate and urban thermal comfort. Sponsored by the Croucher Foundation, the event was well attended by more than 100 academics and scientists in urban climatology and environmental design, as well as stakeholders such as government officials working on climate research, sustainable urban design and city planning. 

The opening ceremony was officiated at by Mr. David Foster, Executive Director of Croucher Foundation; and Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CUHK. Other honorable guests included Mr. K. K. Ling, Director of Planning of the HKSAR Government, and Mr. Chi-ming Shun, Director of Hong Kong Observatory. Moderated by Ms. Christine Loh, Acting Secretary for the Environment, the guests engaged in a dialogue session to share their perspectives on how to design future cities with regard to climate change, human thermal comfort and health. 

Climate change is definitely a major global challenge, especially when the fast pace of urbanization, increasing densities in cities and rising energy consumption are considered. It is important to incorporate climate information into urban planning and building design practice to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and to reduce its impact on city dwellers’ health and comfort. Therefore, the IOFC and SoA of CUHK hosted the ASI to bring together scientists, academics and architects to exchange the latest research findings on the topics of urban climate and thermal comfort, from the perspectives of both science and practical experience. 

The five-day Croucher ASI invited world renowned lecturers, including Prof. Alex Mahalov, Arizona State University; Prof. James Voogt, President of the International Association for Urban Climate; Prof. Darren Robinson, the University of Nottingham; Dr. Fei Chen, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Prof. Janet Barlow, the University of Reading; Prof. Richard de Dear, the University of Sydney; Prof. Akashi Mochida, Tohoku University; Prof. Ryozo Ooka, the University of Tokyo; and Prof. David Pearlmutter, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The topics covered in the lectures included urban heat islands, urban climate and sustainability, urban ventilation on a building and city scale, greening and health risk, pedestrian thermal stress, and urban environmental risk under future climate change. The lecturers and the audience had in-depth discussions on climate change issues and their impacts on the urban living environment, and human comfort and well-being. General concepts, modelling and applications on urban climate were also introduced. 

At the closing ceremony of the Croucher ASI, Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, gave his own observations. He addressed the efforts and role of CUHK in building an interdisciplinary team to conduct further study on sustainability and the environment. He also looked forward to further international initiatives in addressing the global issues of climate change and future environmental risks. 

This is the second time for the team led by Prof. Edward Ng, Associate Director of IOFC and Yao Ling Sun Professor of Architecture, and Prof. Chao Ren, Assistant Professor of the School of Architecture, CUHK to host the Croucher ASI on the subject of urban climate. They hope history will  remember that two very important international initiatives originated from ASI 2011 and ASI 2015 in CUHK — the ‘WUDAPT Urban Database for Chinese Cities’ and the ‘Urban Thermal Comfort Protocol and Framework’. 

In addition to the generous sponsorship of the Croucher Foundation, this event was supported by different parties including professional institutions, government departments, and also different departments and research units in local universities, such as the International Association for Urban Climate, Hong Kong Green Building Council; the Environment Bureau, the Hong Kong Observatory, the Planning Department of HKSAR Government, Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd, and the Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability (IEES). 

About the Croucher Foundation and the Croucher Advanced Study Institute

The Croucher Foundation is an independent private foundation established by the late Noel Croucher to promote standards in the natural sciences, technology and medicine in Hong Kong. To facilitate the exchange of ideas between Hong Kong scientists and their counterparts overseas, the Croucher Foundation sponsors the universities to host the Croucher Advanced Study Institute as a high-level teaching activity to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and the formation of international scientific contacts.

The attending guests and lecturers pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony.
The attending guests and lecturers pose for a group photo at the opening ceremony.

Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK gives a closing remarks.
Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK gives a closing remarks.

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