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Thermal comfort in outdoor urban spaces

This time I want to talk about a topic that has a special place in my heart (I did my special research on it at the university); thermal comfort, and more specifically, thermal comfort in outdoor urban spaces!

First, we need to give a specific definition for thermal comfort, to have a better idea of what we're talking about. Thermal comfort is the condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment and is assessed by subjective evaluation.

During the last decades, more and more people are moving to big cities. And though cities have a lot to give to someone's life, they can't tolerate so many people as they are and, as a result, cities are considered bad for citizens' health and overall wellbeing. Studies show that in recent decades there is a marginalization of the outdoor urban space and urban furniture since more attention is being paid to the right design of a building, with direct financial benefits, and not to a pleasant urban roaming and outdoor stay.

There is a growing interest in the evaluation of thermal comfort and that's because climate change has increased the temperature of city centers a lot. Usually, most of the info we have is about interior thermal comfort. The outdoor one is more difficult to be calculated due to more complex parameters such as uncountable thermal limits and intense solar radiation. But what is now under study is how the design of outdoor spaces can impact both the inside of the surrounding buildings and the quality of life in the cities. By doing that we can help lower the energy consumption of the buildings and also influence people to spend more time outdoors.

The value of thermal comfort mainly depends on environmental (local wind speed, air temperature, humidity, incident solar radiation, etc.), and personal (activity, metabolic rate, and clothing) parameters. One can't change the environmental parameters, but can change objective behavior; dress according to the weather, drink hot or cold beverages, etc.

I don't think there's any point in getting into too many scientific details about this issue. (*) There are so many things that we still don't know about outdoor thermal comfort, but we need to understand its importance and how it can affect so many aspects of our health, social life, and even financial issues.

*You can check my more detailed research here...

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