2010/ --- Bioclimatic Comfort, Green Areas and Built Structures.
Perception, Applied Climatology, Extreme Climate Events, Bioclimatic Comfort, Urban Environment
Sara Velho, Ana Monteiro, Mário Almeida, Luís Fonseca, Carlos Sousa
This research line, which currently is based on the Project “Potential impacts in climate change and the extreme weather conditions in outdoor comfort in european cities . implications towards a sustainable urban design”, arises as an opportunity for continuing the work performed under the scope of the Project “Risks for public health caused by heat waves and cold spells in the area of Porto”, from the Pluridisciplinary Project 2010 (164) “The effect from green areas on bioclimatic comfort. The Gardens of Serralves”.
The vast literature in the area of climatology and urban ecology enables the comprehension of the importance that green areas can have on urban environment as elements for mitigating the effects from climate change manifestations.
From the multiple functions of green areas (environmental, ecological, social and economic), the role as climate regulators has become central concerning its properties, for example, of atmospheric purification, of thermoregulation and humidity control in the air and soil and solar radiation. They can, therefore, be important mitigators of "urban heat islands of freshness”, modifying the bioclimatic comfort and, in most cases, improving the quality of environment and urban life.
However, despite the unparalleled importance of green areas, not always do they offer its users the expected bioclimatic comfort, which can originate severe prejudices on the frequency and preference. In many cases, this results in its design, composition of the built infrastructures or the way how vegetation modifies the climate variables (radiant temperature, temperature, relative air humidity, albedo, wind direction, luminance, among others) at local scale. In these cases they can originate microclimatic mosaics, inadequate to the activities to which they were made available.
By recreating new bioclimatic comfort conditions, green areas may not conveniently accommodate the various activities of passive recreation (stay, ambulation, reflection, observation, among others) or active recreation (physical exercise).
Like this, the research being performed according to this thematic looks forward to continue contributing towards knowledge about the influence from green areas’ morphology and vegetation organization in the bioclimatic comfort of its users and in the climatic mosaics of the adjacent areas, having the main goal of understanding, at the regional level, the role of vegetation in the urban context where it is inserted and, at the local level, how the design, the organization of the different vegetable strata, the built structures and the inert coating material interfere in the microclimate, and consequently, in the bioclimatic comfort of its users.
With this, it is intended to achieve the definition of measures that contribute towards the definition of bioclimatic strategies applied to green areas which can be adopted not only on project, and on green areas’ management, but also in the instruments for planning and territory management.