Ren, Chao 任超
BArch; PhD; BEAM Pro

Dr. Chao REN is an Associate Professor in The Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining HKU, she was an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she was a research fellow in the Institute of Energy, Environment and Sustainability and also the Institute of Future Cities. She has lectured widely in the leading institutions on topics of environmental design and urban climatic application.

Her research interest is Sustainable Urban and Environmental Design and Urban Climatic Application in Urban Planning. She has published widely in highly ranked journals and peer-reviewed conferences, focusing primarily on examining the relationship between urban climate and urban morphological characteristics, developing an urban climatic mapping system, and analysing urbanization-induced human thermal comfort and public health risk impacts for high-density/compact cities. She has edited and co-edited 3 books. One is The Urban Climatic Map: A Methodology for Sustainable Urban Planning (Routledge, 2015). Dr. Ren has involved in several governmental research projects in China (Hong Kong, Macau, Wuhan, Changchun and Beijing), Taiwan (Kaohsiung), The Netherlands (Arhem) and France (Toulouse) since 2006. She has been invited by international organizations including WMO and UNEP to develop urban climate related guides, reports and training materials. She serves as editorial advisor for Cities & Health and an associate editor for Urban Climate (2018-2020). She is a board member of the International Association for Urban Climate (2017-2021). She is a registered BEAM Professional and has joined the Working Group of BEAM Society since 2011.

Chao’s multi-dimensional, cross-disciplinary research aims to transfer scientific data into new knowledge to address social needs, enhance policy-making and support evidence-based designs. Her studies on sustainable urban environments have led to a number of practical research and government consultancy projects in Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, the Netherlands and France. Chao’s publications on Urban Climatic Map have not only formed the theoretical basis but also explored the possibilities of knowledge transfer from the scientific work of urban climatology to the implementations of urban planning. Her writings are frequently cited and have attracted global attention across the fields of urban climatology, urban planning and architecture, with some of them being taught in postgraduate courses at leading institutions, such as the University of California, Berkeley, University College London, University College Dublin, Utrecht University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Wageningen University and Technische Universität Münch.

Since 2011, Chao has extended her research efforts to the global initiative of World Urban Database and Access Port Tools (WUDAPT) through international collaborations, aiming not only to develop a database for urban morphology and address the environmental challenges and sustainable needs of developing regions, but also to form a collaborative research platform for academic-industry-government partnerships. She has initiated a research collaboration with the Google Earth Engine team since Sep 2017. Her research team has completed the WUDAPT database for 60 cities and three regions of China, and has explored its applications through climatic modelling simulations, which outputs have captured the Best Applied UHI Research Award in the 4th International Conference on Countermeasure to Urban Heat Islands. Chao has also been invited to form research collaborations with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations of European Commission. Furthermore, her research findings will be applied to the “Digital Belt and Road Initiative – Urban Development” and “Atlas of the Human Planet” projects to refine the scientific understanding of urban built environments and land cover characteristics for sustainable urban development.

Research Interests 

Climate change adaptation and resilience
Urban planning and environmental design
Urbanisation and Sustainable development

Postgraduate supervision

Potential students interested in areas of urban sustainability, climate change policy, city/town planning, can contact Dr Ren directly.

Other activities

Dr. Ren works with many international organizations including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the China Academy of Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Météo France and Google.  She serves as editorial advisor for Cities & Health and an associate editor for Urban Climate (2018-2020). She is a board member of the International Association for Urban Climate (2017-2021). She is a registered BEAM professional and has joined the Working Group of BEAM Society.

Selected Publications

– Guideline/Technical Note

  1. July 2018, Specifications for Climatic Feasibility Demonstration – Urban Ventilation Corridor (气候可行性论证规范:城市通风廊道), (Role as Leading Author), China Meteorological Administration  (under review)
  2. June 2018, WMO, Guide for Urban Integrated Hydro-meteorological, Climate and Environmental Services Part 1 (1a: Concepts and Methodology; 1b: Annexes), (Role as Author) (Finished, it will be discussed and considered at WMO Executive Council No. 70 Meeting in June 2018, Geneva, Switzerland)

– Journal papers

  1. Shi, Y., Lau, K. K.-L., Ren, C., & Ng, E. (2018). Evaluating the local climate zone classification in high-density heterogeneous urban environment using mobile measurement. Urban Climate, 25, 167-186. doi:
  2. Morakinyo, T. E., Lau, K. K.-L., Ren, C., & Ng, E. (2018). Performance of Hong Kong’s common trees species for outdoor temperature regulation, thermal comfort and energy saving. Building and Environment. 137, pp157-170. doi:
  3. Lau, K.K.L, Ng, E., Ren, C., Ho, C.K., Wan, L., Shi, Y., Zheng, Y.S., Cheng, V., Yuan, C., Tan, Z., and Wong, K.S., Defining the environmental performance of neighbourhoods in high-density cities, Building Research and Information, DOI:10.1080/09613218.2018.1399583 (published online: 24Nov.,2017)
  4. WANG, R., Ren, C., Xu, Y., Lau, K., & Yuan, S. (2018). Mapping the local climate zones of urban areas by GIS-based and WUDAPT methods: A case study of Hong Kong. Urban Climate, 24, 567-576. doi:
  5. Xu, L.X., Ren, C., Yuan, C., Nichol, J.E., & Goggins, W.B., (2017). An Ecological Study of the Association between Area-Level Green Space and Adult Mortality in Hong Kong, Climate, 2017, 5(3), 55; doi:3390/cli5030055
  6. Ho, H. C., Lau, K. K.-L., Ren, C., & Ng, E. (2017). Characterizing prolonged heat effects on mortality in a sub-tropical high-density city, Hong Kong. International Journal of Biometeorology. doi: 10.1007/s00484-017-1383-4
  7. Ng, E., & Ren, C. (2018). China’s adaptation to climate & urban climatic changes: A critical review, Urban Climate, 23, 352-372.
  8. Cai, M., Ren, C., Xu, Y., Lau, K. K.-L., & Wang, R. (2018). Investigating the relationship between local climate zone and land surface temperature using an improved WUDAPT methodology – A case study of Yangtze River Delta, China. Urban Climate, 24, 485-502.
  9. Zheng, Y., Ren, C., Xu, Y., Wang, R., Ho, J., et al. (2018). GIS-based mapping of Local Climate Zone in the high-density city of Hong Kong. Urban Climate, 24, 419-448.
  10. Xu, Y., REN, C., MA, P.F., HO, J., LIN, H. and NG, E., (2017). Urban morphology detection and computation for urban climate research. Landscape and Urban Planning, 167(Supplement C), 212-224. doi:
  11. REN, C., NG, E., IP, T., & CHENG, V., (2017) Climatic-Spatial Planning and Design in High Density Cities: An Implementation and Practical experience of Hong Kong Air Ventilation Assessment, Urbanism and Architecture, (Harbin: Harbin Institute of Technology ) Jan 2017, pp. 20-23 (in Chinese)
  12. XU, Y., REN, C., CAI, M. & NG, E., (2017). Classification of local climate zones using ASTER and Landsat data for high-density cities. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. 10(7), 3397-3405.
  13. Kong L, Lau KKL, Yuan C, Chen Y, Xu Y, Ren C, & Ng E. (2017). Regulation of outdoor thermal comfort by trees in Hong Kong. Sustainable Cities and Society, 31(Supplement C), 12-25. doi:
  14. Cai, M., REN, C., XU, Y., Dai, W., & Wang, X.M., (2016). Local Climate Zone Study for Sustainable Megacities Development by Using Improved WUDAPT Methodology – A Case Study in Guangzhou. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 36, 82-89.
  15. ZHENG, Y.S., SHI, Y., REN, C., & NG, E, (2016). ” Urban Ventilation Strategies for Micro Climate Improvement in Subtropical High-density Cities – A Case Study of Tai Po Market in Hong Kong”, Urban Planning International, (Beijing: Urban Planning International Magazine Publications), 5, pp. 68-75, (in Chinese)
  16. SHI, Y., REN, C., ZHENG, Y.S., & NG, E., (2015). Mapping the Urban Microclimatic Spatial Distribution in a Sub-tropical High-density Urban Environment. Architectural Science Review, 50,370-384, doi: 10.1080/00038628.2015.1105195
  17. LAU, K.K, REN, C., HO, J. & NG, E. (2015). Numerical modelling of mean radiant temperature in high-density sub-tropical urban environment, Energy and Buildings, 114 (15), 80-86, doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.06.035
  18. YUAN, C., REN, C., & NG, E., (2014) “GIS-based surface roughness evaluation in the urban planning system to improve the wind environment – A study in Wuhan, China”. Urban Climate, vol. 10, part 3, pp.583-593, doi:10.1016/j.uclim.2014.06.005
  19. REN, C., YUAN C., HO, C. K. & NG, E., (2014). Urban Air Path and Its application”. Urban Planning Forum, (Shanghai: Urban Planning Forum Magazine Publications), vol.216, no. 03, pp.52-60, 2014.06 (in Chinese)
  20. REN, C., NG, E., & WONG, S.W., (2014). Initial Study on the Knowledge Transfer of Hong Kong Architectural Education and Research. Huazhong Architecture. (Wuhan: Huazhong Architecture Magazine Publications), vol.32, no.04, pp.148-152. 2014.04 (in Chinese)
  21. GOGGINS, W.B., REN, C., NG, E., YANG, C. & CHAN, Y.Y.E., (2013). Effect modification of the association between meteorological variables and mortality by urban climatic conditions in the tropical city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Geospatial Health, vol.8 no.1, pp.37-44. 2013.11. doi:10.4081/gh.2013.52
  22. REN Chao, NG Edward and KATZSCHNER Lutz. (2013). “The Application of Urban Environmental and Climatic Information in German Urban Planning and the Inspirations for China”. Urban Planning International. (Beijing: Urban Planning International Magazine Publications), vol. 2013, no. 4, pp.91-99, 2013.08 (in Chinese)
  23. REN Chao, LAU Ka Lun, YIP Kam-po and NG Yan Yung. (2013). “The Application of Urban Climatic Mapping to the Urban Planning of High-Density Cities: The Case of Kaohsiung, Taiwan”. Cities, vol.31 pp.1-16. 2013.04. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2012.12.005
  24. NG Yan Yung, REN Chao and KATZSCHNER Lutz, (2012). “Urban Climatic Mapping in Hong Kong”.  Journal of Heat Island Institute International, vol.7 no.2, pp.55-64.  Japan, 2012.10.
  25. REN Chao, NG Edward, KATZSCHNER Lutz and FUNG Jimmy. (2012). “The Development of Urban Climatic Map and Its Current Application Situation “. Journal of Applied Meteorological Science, (Beijing: Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences), vol.23, no.05, pp. 593-603, 2012.10. (in Chinese)
  26. SHI Yuan, REN Chao and NG Edward. (2012). “Analysis of Urban Design Strategies Based on the Outdoor Wind Environment and Thermal Comfort – A case study of Beijing Xidan Commercial District”. Urban Planning Forum, (Shanghai: Urban Planning Forum Magazine Publications), vol. 203, no. 5, pp.92-98, 2012.10. (in Chinese)
  27. REN Chao, TAN Zheng and NG Edward. (2012). “Hong Kong Policy Study and Architectural Education in Perspective of Sustainable Development “, Architectural Journal, (Beijing: Architectural Society of China), vol.2012, no.09, pp.101-103, 2012.09. (in Chinese)
  28. GOGGINS William; CHAN Ying Yang Emily; NG Yan Yung; REN Chao and CHEN Liang. (2012). “Effect modification of the association between short-term meteorological factors and mortality by urban heat islands in Hong Kong”, PLoS ONE, vol.7 no.6, 2012.06.22. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038551
  29. REN Chao; SPIT Tejo; LENZHOLZER Sanda; YIM Steve; CHEN Liang; KUPSKI Sebastian; BURGHARDT Rene and KATZSCHNER Lutz. (2012). “Urban Climate Map System for Dutch Spatial Planning”. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, vol.18 p.207-221. Elsevier, 2012.01. doi:10.1016/j.jag.2012.01.026,
  30. CHEN Liang, NG Yan Yung, AN, Xipo, REN Chao, LEE Yiu Wa, WANG Yingna and HO Ching Kwan Justin. (2012). “Sky View Factor Analysis of Street Canyons And Its Implications for Intra-Urban Air Temperature Differentials in High-Rise, High-Density Urban Areas of Hong Kong: A GIS-Based Simulation Approach”, International Journal of Climatology, vol.32, Issue.1, pp.121-136. Wiley, 2010.10.27. doi: 10.1002/joc.2243
  31. NG Yan Yung; YUAN, Chao; CHEN Liang; REN Chao and FUNG Chi-hung Jimmy. (2011). “Improving the wind environment in high-density cities by understanding urban morphology and surface roughness: a case study in Hong Kong”, Landscape and Urban Planning,101 no.1, pp.59-74. Elsevier, 2011. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.01.004
  32. REN Chao, NG Yan Yung and KATZSCHNER Lutz. (2011). “Urban climatic map studies: a review”, International Journal of Climatology, vol.31, Issue.15, p.2213–2233. Wiley, Dec. 2011. doi: 10.1002/joc.2237