Multi-Scale Urban System Modelling For Thermal Comfort Liveability Planning And Design

Tian-Kuay Lim
National Environment Agency of Singapore
Noon Nov 2 in Room 2155

The urban heat island phenomenon has become a concern in many major cities worldwide, as high summer temperatures and poor wind flow in highly urbanised areas can have negative impacts on thermal comfort and health of residents by trapping air pollution, and increasing energy demand for artificial cooling. As a high-density city in the tropics, Singapore is similarly susceptible to high temperatures and the related negative impacts. To meet the population and economic needs in Singapore, it is essential that the microclimatic impacts of upcoming urban developments, as well as the long-term effects of climate change, are assessed early during the planning process, and for the appropriate design and mitigation measures to be incorporated upfront in the plans.

This study seeks to develop a multi-scale coupled natural-human urban system modelling for urban planners, stakeholders and decision-makers to refine land use and development plans for maintaining good thermal comfort in both the immediate and longer term future using multiple indicators, including environmental and human response indicators.

A multi-scale coupled environmental urban model using global to mesoscale atmospheric and computational fluid dynamics urban model to estimate wind, temperature and humidity ranging from global scales to urban street-level scales, is integrated with a multi-dimensional statistical model for human comfort, which includes calibration of the environmental conditions using in-situ observations from ground sensors to compute the physiological metrics to measure human comfort (questionnaires) which includes human activity, individual differences such as ageing and the psychological aspects such as the influence of colours, materials and lighting in the design on the perception of heat.

This study identifies the necessity to link different temporal and spatial scales, multi-disciplinary measures and tools to enhance and deepen the understanding of urban ecosystems for thermal comfort assessment to support urban design and redevelopment in Singapore.