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Sky View Factors from Synthetic Fisheye Photos for Thermal Comfort Routing—A Case Study in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

The Sky View Factor (SVF) is a dimension-reduced representation of urban form and one of the major variables in radiation models that estimate outdoor thermal comfort. Common ways of retrieving

The Sky View Factor (SVF) is a dimension-reduced representation of urban form and one of the major variables in radiation models that estimate outdoor thermal comfort. Common ways of retrieving SVFs in urban environments include capturing fisheye photographs or creating a digital 3D city or elevation model of the environment. Such techniques have previously been limited due to a lack of imagery or lack of full scale detailed models of urban areas. We developed a web based tool that automatically generates synthetic hemispherical fisheye views from Google Earth at arbitrary spatial resolution and calculates the corresponding SVFs through equiangular projection. SVF results were validated using Google Maps Street View and compared to results from other SVF calculation tools. We generated 5-meter resolution SVF maps for two neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona to illustrate fine-scale variations of intra-urban horizon limitations due to urban form and vegetation. To demonstrate the utility of our synthetic fisheye approach for heat stress applications, we automated a radiation model to generate outdoor thermal comfort maps for Arizona State University’s Tempe campus for a hot summer day using synthetic fisheye photos and on-site meteorological data. Model output was tested against mobile transect measurements of the six-directional radiant flux density. Based on the thermal comfort maps, we implemented a pedestrian routing algorithm that is optimized for distance and thermal comfort preferences. Our synthetic fisheye approach can help planners assess urban design and tree planting strategies to maximize thermal comfort outcomes and can support heat hazard mitigation in urban areas.

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Date Created
  • 2017-03-27

Impact of shade on outdoor thermal comfort-a seasonal field study in Tempe, Arizona

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Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through

Shade plays an important role in designing pedestrian-friendly outdoor spaces in hot desert cities. This study investigates the impact of photovoltaic canopy shade and tree shade on thermal comfort through meteorological observations and field surveys at a pedestrian mall on Arizona State University's Tempe campus. During the course of 1 year, on selected clear calm days representative of each season, we conducted hourly meteorological transects from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and surveyed 1284 people about their thermal perception, comfort, and preferences. Shade lowered thermal sensation votes by approximately 1 point on a semantic differential 9-point scale, increasing thermal comfort in all seasons except winter. Shade type (tree or solar canopy) did not significantly impact perceived comfort, suggesting that artificial and natural shades are equally efficient in hot dry climates. Globe temperature explained 51 % of the variance in thermal sensation votes and was the only statistically significant meteorological predictor. Important non-meteorological factors included adaptation, thermal comfort vote, thermal preference, gender, season, and time of day. A regression of subjective thermal sensation on physiological equivalent temperature yielded a neutral temperature of 28.6 °C. The acceptable comfort range was 19.1 °C-38.1 °C with a preferred temperature of 20.8 °C. Respondents exposed to above neutral temperature felt more comfortable if they had been in air-conditioning 5 min prior to the survey, indicating a lagged response to outdoor conditions. Our study highlights the importance of active solar access management in hot urban areas to reduce thermal stress.

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Date Created
  • 2015-04-13

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A Study to Evaluate Urban Heat Mitigation Design Strategies to Improve Pedestrian’s Thermal Perception in Existing Canyons of Extreme Hot-Arid Cities. The Case of Phoenix, Arizona

Description

The rapid rate of urbanization coupled with continued population growth and anthropogenic activities has resulted in a myriad of urban climate related impacts across different cities around the world. Hot-arid

The rapid rate of urbanization coupled with continued population growth and anthropogenic activities has resulted in a myriad of urban climate related impacts across different cities around the world. Hot-arid cities are more vulnerable to induced urban heat effects due to the intense solar radiation during most of the year, leading to increased ambient air temperature and outdoor/indoor discomfort in Phoenix, Arizona. With the fast growth of the capital city of Arizona, the automobile-dependent planning of the city contributed negatively to the outdoor thermal comfort and to the people's daily social lives. One of the biggest challenges for hot-arid cities is to mitigate against the induced urban heat increase and improve the outdoor thermal. The objective of this study is to propose a pragmatic and useful framework that would improve the outdoor thermal comfort, by being able to evaluate and select minimally invasive urban heat mitigation strategies that could be applied to the existing urban settings in the hot-arid area of Phoenix. The study started with an evaluation of existing microclimate conditions by means of multiple field observations cross a North-South oriented urban block of buildings within Arizona State University’s Downtown campus in Phoenix. The collected data was evaluated and analyzed for a better understanding of the different local climates within the study area, then used to evaluate and partially validate a computational fluid dynamics model, ENVI-Met. Furthermore, three mitigation strategies were analyzed to the Urban Canopy Layer (UCL) level, an increase in the fraction of permeable materials in the ground surface, adding different configurations of high/low Leaf Area Density (LAD) trees, and replacing the trees configurations with fabric shading. All the strategies were compared and analyzed to determine the most impactful and effective mitigation strategies. The evaluated strategies have shown a substantial cooling effect from the High LAD trees scenarios. Also, the fabric shading strategies have shown a higher cooling effect than the Low LAD trees. Integrating the trees scenarios with the fabric shading had close cooling effect results in the High LAD trees scenarios. Finally, how to integrate these successful strategies into practical situations was addressed.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Exploring the relationship between design and outdoor thermal comfort in hot and dry climate

Description

Moderate physical activity, such as walking and biking, positively affects physical and mental health. Outdoor thermal comfort is an important prerequisite for incentivizing an active lifestyle. Thus, extreme heat poses

Moderate physical activity, such as walking and biking, positively affects physical and mental health. Outdoor thermal comfort is an important prerequisite for incentivizing an active lifestyle. Thus, extreme heat poses significant challenges for people who are outdoors by choice or necessity. The type and qualities of built infrastructure determine the intensity and duration of individual exposure to heat. As cities globally are shifting priorities towards non-motorized and public transit travel, more residents are expected to experience the city on their feet. Thus, physical conditions as well as psychological perception of the environment that affect thermal comfort will become paramount. Phoenix, Arizona, is used as a case study to examine the effectiveness of current public transit and street infrastructure to reduce heat exposure and affect the thermal comfort of walkers and public transit users.

The City of Phoenix has committed to public transit improvements in the Transportation 2050 plan and has recently adopted a Complete Streets Policy. Proposed changes include mobility improvements and creating a safe and comfortable environment for non-motorized road participants. To understand what kind of improvements would benefit thermal comfort the most, it is necessary to understand heat exposure at finer spatial scales, explore whether current bus shelter designs are adequate in mitigating heat-health effects, and comprehensively assess the impact of design on physical, psychological and behavioral aspects of thermal comfort. A study conducted at bus stops in one Phoenix neighborhood examined grey and green infrastructure types preferred for cooling and found relationships between perception of pleasantness and thermal sensation votes. Walking interviews conducted in another neighborhood event examined the applicability of a framework for walking behavior under the stress of heat, and how differences between the streets affected perceptions of the walkers. The interviews revealed that many of the structural themes from the framework of walking behavior were applicable, however, participants assessed the majority of the elements in their walk from a heat mitigation perspective. Finally, guiding questions for walkability in hot and arid climates were developed based on the literature review and results from the empirical studies. This dissertation contributes to filling the gap between walkability and outdoor thermal comfort, and presents methodology and findings that can be useful to address walkability and outdoor thermal comfort in the world’s hot cities as well as those in temperate climates that may face similar climate challenges in the future as the planet warms.

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Date Created
  • 2019