Micro-climate assessments of sustainable urban design and tree planting

Authors: Yujia Zhang*,
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Climatology and Meteorology, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Micro-climate, urban design, tree, sustainable, modeling
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cooling is not only a function of vegetation abundance but also dependent on the 3D form and spatial arrangement of urban features. Existing studies largely rely on temperature measures from remote sensing or nearby weather stations. Few data have been collected to examine the direct impact of urban design and tree planting on human thermal comfort. We select Civano in Tucson, AZ as our study area, a sustainable community featured by extensive desert landscaping compared to the nearby conventional suburban areas. Field measurements of mean radiant temperature, air and surface temperatures were collected to show the differences between sustainable and conventional design on the human thermal comfort and ambient environmental conditions. Combining fine-scale field data, Lidar data, and aerial images, micro-climate ENVI-met simulations will be conducted to comprehensively evaluate the cooling potential of future sustainable development in Civano. In addition, tree spacing and location are key factors for optimal cooling because of the localized shading and evapotranspiration impacts. Different tree planting scenarios, for example, adjacent to a house or along a walking path, and the associated thermal impacts will also be evaluated using ENVI-met. The results will demonstrate the cooling benefit gained from sustainable urban design and facilitate strategic tree planting that promotes pedestrian comfort and physical activities in the arid southwest cities.

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