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Thermal comfort in urban spaces: a cross-cultural study in the hot arid climate

Aljawabra, Faisal, Nikolopoulou, Marialena (2018) Thermal comfort in urban spaces: a cross-cultural study in the hot arid climate. International Journal of Biometeorology, 62 . pp. 1901-1902. ISSN 0020-7128. E-ISSN 1432-1254. (doi:10.1007/s00484-018-1592-5) (KAR id:68870)


This cross-cultural research is an inaugural attempt to investigate the outdoor thermal comfort and the effect of cultural and social differences in hot arid climates. Case studies were carefully selected in two different parts of the world (Marrakech in North Africa and Phoenix, Arizona, in North America) to represent two different cultures in similar climatic context. Field surveys, carried out during winter and summer, included structured interviews with a standard questionnaire, observations and microclimatic monitoring. The results demonstrate a wide thermal comfort zone and prevalence of air-conditioning influencing thermal comfort requirements. The work also provides evidence of substantial cross-cultural differences in thermal comfort requirements between residents in Marrakech and Phoenix. It shows that adaptive measures, such as level of clothing, changing place, cold drinks consumption and thermal experience, varies between cultures and this influences the thermal evaluation of visitors in outdoor spaces in the hot arid climate. Evidence between the time spent in outdoor spaces and thermal expectations has been found. Moreover, environmental variables such as air temperature and solar radiation have a great impact on the use of the outdoor spaces in the hot arid climate and may determine the number of people in urban spaces. The study also identified significant differences in thermal comfort requirements between different socio-economic groups, highlighting the need for comfortable open spaces.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s00484-018-1592-5
Uncontrolled keywords: Outdoor thermal comfort, Culture, Thermal adaptation, Hot arid climate, Urban space
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Marialena Nikolopoulou
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2018 21:51 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2024 11:35 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Nikolopoulou, Marialena.

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