Research Internship – Reclaiming Abu Dhabi’s Roads and Roofs

The student Team #14 was awarded by ASCE, DMT, and CITIES with a prestigious Research Internship to further develop their idea to fight rising temperatures in Abu Dhabi. 

Roads/Roofs: Reclaimed shows how the team transformed their original idea into a scientific solution within CITIES during the academic year 2021/2022. 


  • Jason Cruz, Civil Engineering, 2024
  • Jennifer Tsai, Civil Engineering, 2024
  • Mawadda Abdan, Civil Engineering, 2024
  • Yasmeen Abdelmoneim, Civil Engineering, 2024


  • Borja García de Soto, Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering
  • Kemal Celik, Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering
  • Matthias Fitzky, Research assistant at AMBER Lab 

Project description:

According to the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, by 2050 the city is expected to experience at least a 2.5 degrees Celsius increase in average temperatures and a 10% increase in humidity. The increased apparent temperature will produce great threats for society. Even pursuing simple everyday activities will become extremely challenging. The urban heat island effect will become persistent during the night. This is due to the infrastructures’ materials having a much higher heat capacity than the surrounding desert, leading to heat being retained in the city.

To combat the urban heat island effect in Abu Dhabi, the team investigated the effects of making changes to construction materials for road pavements and buildings, as well as planting vegetation and urban green spaces.

The project’s aim is to produce a deliverable similar to the current Abu Dhabi Urban Street Design Manual published by the DMT. The document would be beneficial for DMT and CITIES by proposing concrete steps Abu Dhabi can take to combat rising temperatures.

Research Presentation: Reclaiming Abu Dhabi’s Roads and Roofs

On Monday, December 20th, 2021, the winning team of the ASCE@NYUAD Future CITIES Competition presented their work to the NYUAD community and CITIES partners.