Cool Spaces

It’s very hot in London today, and tomorrow. It’s best not to be out and about at all, but if you need to be in London, there are some places which may be cooler than others – public venues with air conditioning, some tubes/trains (if running), and also simply shaded spaces beside water or in woodlands – both which act as “reservoirs” of relatively cooler air.

City Hall (the Greater London Authority) has produced and regularly updates a map of “cool spaces” in London. The latest version, London Cool Spaces Summer 2022, takes a number of datasets and layers them together on a London map. This includes tree canopy cover data – with both individual tree canopies and woodland/forest, water fountains (from Refill London), a modelled general surface temperature map which highlights areas likely to be cooler, officially designated cool outdoor spaces (typically large city parks), and water courses. Most importantly, it also includes registered indoor cool spaces, where anyone can access, free-of-charge for refuge.

It doesn’t include many shops, shopping malls or air-conditioned transport which are also probably good options – as these places will have a cost, or will only allow you in for a limited time or if buying something, rather than just seeking refuge. It is also flawed – the automated approach pulls in data such as open fields which are far from pleasant on a sunny day above 30°C, as well as inaccessible reservoirs in the Lea Valley. But nonetheless the map may present you with some options you haven’t thought of. Best of all, the map includes all of London, not just the inner city or the centre.

You can view the London Cool Spaces map on the GLA website here.

One comment

  1. This article is really helpful, I’m so glad something like this exists! I always struggle to find cool spaces when London is unusually hot and this map will make my life a lot easier. I’m looking forward to using it this summer. Thanks for the information!

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