Approaches to Outdoor Thermal Comfort Thresholds through Public Space Design: A Review

1. Introduction

Given the increase of population living within cities, and extreme conditions and aggravations as a result of climate change projections, there has been a resultant response from the international scientific community. When approaching high urban temperatures at micro/local scales, it has so far been argued that “most cities are not designed to ameliorate these effects although it is well-known that this is possible, especially through evidence-based climate-responsive design of urban open spaces” [1] (p. 1). As a result, the bottom-up role of local urban spaces in accommodating urban liveability and vitality is continually receiving attention within the international community [2,3].

So far, top-down climatic assessments and thermal comfort studies have often resorted to more simplistic analysis tools. As an example of this incongruity, it has been identified that global entities such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “describe the effect of weather and climate on humans with a simple index based on a combination of air temperature and relative humidity. 

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Andre Santos