Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW, Sydney
Global cities are the hubs for technology, culture, and economy, and urbanization is seen as the solution for resource efficiency and financial growth. However, as urbanisation progresses, a variety of environmental challenges are imposed on cities and their dwellers. For instance, urban heating is having tangible and direct impacts on thermal comfort and energy consumption in cities around the world, and urban pollutant emissions are directly threatening human health while also contributing to the trend of global warming.
Responding to these climate and environmental challenges is the only way of sustaining the “livability” of our cities in the future. Accordingly, this talk will address methods in which urban microclimatology can be employed as the key tool for:
In the first category, an example of using novel technologies such as wearable devices and ubiquitous sensing will be discussed. To enhance our understanding of thermal comfort, we propose to extend the measurements of microclimate parameters to an emerging method of obtaining data: crowdsourcing. Accordingly, the employments of wearables for the monitoring of personal physiological responses of comfort and stress are discussed such that it spans a wide range of spatial and temporal distributions and provide a “human-centric” approach. Second, in addition to enhancing the knowledge on microscale phenomena such as thermal comfort, comprehensive analyses are needed to ensure that acceptable criteria are defined and met in urban design. Therefore, the second part of the talk aim to discuss such performance metrics and measures of outdoor thermal comfort (OTC) that can be used for climate-conscious urban design. These metrics build upon the concept of “autonomy” previously introduced for indoor spaces, specifically for daylighting, and further expand to include the unique characteristics of outdoor thermal comfort. Furthermore, the challenges of urban climate, and therefore the significance of microclimate analysis does not end at the microscale. At larger scales, the modified topography and surface characteristics affect the boundary layer, alter precipitation patterns, increase the possibility of extreme weather events and ultimately generate the global effects on climate and climate change. Therefore, in larger scales of interest, such as meso-scale modeling of urban environments, detailed and accurate understanding of microscale is required for parametrisation of street-scale processes, and therefore evaluating the environmental challenges imposed with larger scales. An example of achieving this objective from the detailed micro-climate analysis is further discussed in the last part of this talk.