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Multi-scale modelling to assess human comfort in urban canyons

As the impact of climate change progresses, heat waves are expected to increase significantly in the future. Coupled with the urban heat island effect, this will tend to have a major impact on the comfort of the inhabitants in urban areas. It is thus crucial to adopt the necessary sustainable measures and development scenarios to improve city liveability and human health. The main physical parameters that affect the outdoor human comfort are the air temperature, the relative humidity and the wind speed. Various tools, such as CFD or LES models, have been used in the past to evaluate these variables for the calculation of human comfort indices. These tools however are computationally too expensive and require extensive resources and data. Moreover, in our previous studies on the outdoor human comfort realized with the CitySim software, the meteorological variables were not linked to the urban form, geometry and roughness. To overcome these barriers, the CIM (Canopy Interface Model) was developed to calculate high-resolution vertical profiles of meteorological variables. The CitySim software to perform energy and temperature simulations then used these outputs. In this study, virtual pedestrians were located in two different areas of the EPFL campus, in Lausanne (Switzerland): a natural environment - characterized by clay soil and cherry trees - and an artificial environment, the new asphalt square near the SwissTech Convention Centre. The analysis carried out with the CitySim software compares the outdoor human comfort of pedestrian with the wind data from the traditional Meteonorm dataset, and the new CIM wind simulations. A sensitivity analysis of the results shows the difference between both simulations, quantifying the impact of the new wind model in the calculation of the indices.

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