Urban-induced heating is a challenge to the livability and health of city dwellers. It is a complex issue that many cities are facing, and a more urgent hazard in hot urban deserts (HUDs) than elsewhere due to already high temperatures and aridity. The challenge compounds in the absence of more localized heat mitigation understanding. In addition, over-reliance on evidence from temperate regions is disconnected from the actualities of extreme bioclimatic dynamics found in HUDs. This dissertation is an integration of a series of studies that inform urban climate relationships specific to HUDs. This three-paper dissertation demonstrates heat mitigation aspirational goals from actualities, depicts local urban thermal drivers in Kuwait, and then tests morphological sensitivity of selected thermal modulation strategies in one neighborhood in Kuwait City.
The first paper is based on a systematic literature review where evidence from morphological mitigation strategies in HUDs were critically reviewed, synthesized and integrated. Metrics, measurements, and methods were extracted to examine the applicability of the different strategies, and a content synthesis identified the levels of strategy success. Collective challenges and uncertainties were interpreted to compare aspirational goals from actualities of morphological mitigation strategies.
The second paper unpacks the relationship of urban morphological attributes in influencing thermal conditions to assess latent magnitudes of heat amelioration strategies. Mindful of the challenges presented in the first study, a 92-day summer field-measurement campaign captured system dynamics of urban thermal stimuli within sub-diurnal phenomena. A composite data set of sub-hourly air temperature measurements with sub-meter morphological attributes was built, statistically analyzed, and modeled. Morphological mediation effects were found to vary hourly with different patterns under varying weather conditions in non-linear associations. Results suggest mitigation interventions be investigated and later tested on a site- use and time-use basis.
The third paper concludes with a simulation-based study to conform on the collective findings of the earlier studies. The microclimate model ENVI-met 4.4, combined with field measurements, was used to simulate the effect of rooftop shade-sails in cooling the near ground thermal environment. Results showed significant cooling effects and thus presented a novel shading approach that challenges orthodox mitigation strategies in HUDs.