Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Methodology for mapping outdoor comfort conditions in the urban context

On the basis of field surveys and an accompanying extensive dataset concerning comfort conditions, use of outdoor space and social character of two public open spaces in Kassel a methodology for mapping thermal comfort conditions in the urban context has been developed.

The most important issue was to focus on an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand tool/methodology addressed and dedicated to the special interest/needs of planners and architects.

The first step towards thermal mapping was analyzing the spatial distribution of meteorological parameters and comfort indices (PMV, PET) as well as comfort evaluation of interviewees and use of space of the sites in Kassel. Out of this thermal comfort zones could be derived.

This procedure was based on the field survey results and therefore depends on the availability of respective data.

In consequence, for a more general use in the context of urban planning, it has been derived a "simple" methodology based on the main influencing parameters and widely available data.

The most important aspect is taking into consideration three main issues: morphology of the site (geometry of buildings, kind of surfaces (ground / facades), vegetation), meteorological parameters and time parameters. Concerning meteorological parameters there is a focus on solar/thermal radiation and wind speed. These two aspects have a high spatial and temporal variation, whereas air temperature and vapour pressure are more homogeneous. So radiation and wind speed are the main influencing factors in producing different comfort situations within one site at the same time.

In the end a spatial distribution of zones with similar comfort conditions can be derived, followed by an evaluation in terms of risk or suitability.

In this context the design and use of open space are considered as influencing factors/variables acting in two different "directions"; on the one hand they influence the mapping and evaluation results, on the other hand from the evaluation there can arise the need for changes/adaptation in design, use of space etc.

All in all, a methodology of drawing comfort maps has become available, which can be applied to any site in a very simple and effective way (instead of complicated and time/money wasting modelling). From the comfort maps a predicting comparison and assessment between different alternative design conceptions can be achieved which is devoted very much to the need of urban planning and related fields (e.g. energy, traffic, air pollution etc.). Moreover a characterization and assessment of different city structures as well as climatic and urban patterns can be derived.

So the methodology of drawing comfort maps enables and contributes to the improvement of urban quality of life in the context of environmental friendly cities and provides a useful tool for engineers and local authorities.

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University of Kassel
Henschelstrasse 2
34121 Kassel
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