Optimizing public space shading

I am an engineer who has graduated from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, the Polytechnique School of Montreal University in Canada with an M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering, and Tel-Aviv University with a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering. During my master's degree, my research focused on optimizing prices and vehicle routing for delivery problems. My Ph.D. thesis proposed mathematical models for optimizing balancing problems in bike-sharing systems. My recent research presents new mathematical bi-level models aimed at improving the well-being and flexibility of employees in the workplace. I am currently a senior lecturer at Afeka College of Engineering in Tel-Aviv, teaching in the school of Industrial Engineering.


Creating shade in public spaces is a critical factor in enhancing quality of life and public health, particularly in countries like Israel that experience high temperatures for a significant part of the year. Currently, there are no shade solutions in place in all types of public spaces. The project aims to optimize public space shading in a city, taking into account a specific budget, the density of the area, climate conditions, and various types of shading. This project was undertaken by two of my students under my supervision. We developed a mathematical optimization model for planning public shading spaces and conducted simulations using data from the city of Rishon LeZion. The project will benefit citizens by increasing the shaded areas in public spaces, including along streets. By providing shading solutions in public spaces, it's possible to reduce sun exposure, encourage physical activity, and create a more comfortable microclimate. The temperature in a shaded area is significantly lower compared to an area exposed to the sun, depending on the type of shading (e.g. trees or artificial shading).

During the hot months of summer, as I walked on the streets trying to escape the scorching sun, I often wondered why so many public spaces and streets lacked shading. While it would be ideal to plant trees in all streets, this is not possible due to various constraints such as the width of the street, the depth of the ground, budget, and population density. This sparked my interest in finding a solution to this problem using mathematical programming (operations research), so I proposed this project to my students and we worked together to build a model. I am now working on an improved model that takes into account a wider range of parameters and hope that it will assist decision-makers in optimizing shading in existing areas and be incorporated into the planning of future projects.


My motivation is to enhance the daily lives of citizens by adapting cities to the effects of climate change. Otherwise, in the future, people in the Middle East and other parts of the world will be confined to air conditioning for the majority of the year, leading to issues such as loneliness, lack of physical and social activities, increased energy consumption, etc. When it comes to shading, there are different types, but it has been shown that trees are the most effective in significantly reducing temperatures. That's why I believe that optimizing shading by planting trees in strategic areas sends a powerful message about the importance of our connection to nature. We cannot live disconnected from nature and need it for survival, and we must respect it. I hope that as a society, we can work together to implement the best solutions before it is too late.

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