Characterization of thermal comfort in the city – part 2:


According to Lindberg (2007), Wei et al. (2016), Lin et al. (2017) and Middel et al. (2018), urban morphology (urban canopy geometry, materials and the presence of vegetation) is the most influencing factor for urban microclimate at local and micro scale during the day as well as during the night. Geometry changes air flow, heat flow and the energy balance, while surface coverage changes albedo, moisture availability, and the heating/cooling capacity of the soil (Stewart and Oke, 2012). It influences thus air and surface temperatures, turbulent flows, ventilation, solar radiation and air quality at pedestrian level.

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Characterization of thermal comfort in the city – Part 1:


The interest in the potential of public spaces to produce thermal comfort conditions for city dwellers has increased considerably in recent decades (Johansson et al., 2018). In the era of adaptation to global warming, the urban public space design must respond to ecological (creation of urban cool islands), health (prevention of the effects of heat waves), and socioeconomic (events, shops) needs. Thus, the study of these spaces and the thermal effects induced locally and temporally by space-climatic devices raise several scientific questions:

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Experimental sites – summer 2020

In addition to the “Quai des Plantes” experimental site, we investigated two other sites this summer, between July and September 2020: 1) the “Extraordinary Garden” in the Misery quarry and 2) the “Rideau d’eau” (“water curtain” in English) at the “Place Graslin” (Figure 1). The measurement protocols applied are identical to those of “Quai des Plantes”.

Figure 1: Experimental sites in Nantes, summer 2020
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Quai des plantes (Nantes) – an experimental site

One of our experimental sites this summer is the « Quai des Plantes » or « vegetated dock », located on the Loire river banks in Nantes. Offering a plant nursery, a green promenade and a place for gathering, leisure and festivities, this very mineral site (a former parking lot built on the top board of a reinforced-concrete dock) has been redeveloped over 500 m since the summer of 2017. Today, 1,500 trees planted in pots constitute the perpetual heart of the site, before being planted in the parks and public gardens of the city of Nantes. This ephemeral and dynamic installation revives its historic vocation of transitioning plants coming by colonial ships to the garden of French apothecaries. The transitory nature is also reflected in the desire to transform sustainably the Loire docks into a green axis between the city center and the public transport stop “Gare Maritime” and the lower Chantenay district.

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A Review on interdisciplinary methods for the characterization of thermal perception in public spaces

We are pleased to announce that our oral communication for the international conference CISBAT19 is now published the special issu of the Journal of Physics: Conference Series.

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Reflections on Interdisciplinary Methods for Studying the effects of Thermo-spatial Perception in the public space

Coolscapes is a research project based on an interdisciplinary approach to the thermo-spatial perception of the public space. From our point of view, understanding the manifold phenomena that influence citizens’ thermal perception requires gathering together divers disciplinary research methods. Although research fields such as microclimatology, sensory studies, environmental psychology, cognitive sciences or urban studies deal with the thermal experience outdoors and contribute to knowledge, mixing their methods can lead to new methodological designs in which “the weaknesses inherent in one method, can be compensated by making use of the other method that is assumed not to have the same weaknesses” (Deschepper et al., 2017).

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Un inventaire des « dispositifs spatio-climatiques » dans le Monde

Chaque été, le nombre d’espaces dans la ville intégrant un mode de rafraîchissement augmente et nous interroge sur les formes et usages de la ville en période caniculaire. Pour mieux comprendre ce phénomène, nous tentons de le circonscrire autour de l’appellation « dispositif spatio-climatique ». Ce terme englobe les espaces urbains à usage collectif sous l’influence d’un dispositif de rafraîchissement. La notion de « dispositif » nous aide à mieux appréhender les phénomènes spécifiques à l’échelle du corps du citadin et de la micro-morphologie de la ville (Chelkoff, 2001).

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Identification de dispositifs spatio-climatiques

Le projet COOLSCAPES démarre par la réalisation d’un inventaire des installations de rafraîchissement et refroidissement appliquées dans l’espace public. Il s’agit de repérer des aménagements urbains et des espaces architecturaux proposant une maîtrise des paramètres climatiques agissant sur le confort des citadins en saison estivale. Ce travail constituera la base d’une veille tout au long de la recherche des nouveaux dispositifs spatio-climatiques apparaissant.

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This blog reports on the progress of the work carried out within the ANR COOLSCAPES project on cooling devices in the public space. During the last summer periods, European cities have witnessed the proliferation of urban installations aiming at refreshing the citizens in the public space, i.e. refreshing canopies, water mirrors, air-conditioned bubbles. How do these new forms of collective microclimate-conditioning modify our urban atmospheres? From this starting question, COOLSCAPES seeks to better understand the physical, social and sensory dimensions of these places, which we will call « spatio-climatic devices », in order to guide their future applications for adapting urban populations to climate change. COOLSCAPES is an ANR JCJC project leaded by Ignacio REQUENA at the laboratory AAU UMR 1563 CNRS/ECN/ENSAG/ENSAN.

Ce carnet de recherche rend compte régulièrement de l’avancement du travail réalisé dans le cadre du projet ANR COOLSCAPES sur les dispositifs de rafraîchissement dans l’espace public. Pendant les dernières périodes estivales, les villes européennes ont vu proliférer des installations pour le rafraîchissement des citadins dans l’espace public – ex. canopées rafraîchissantes, miroirs d’eau, enveloppes climatisées. Comment ces nouvelles formes collectives de climatisation façonnent-elles les ambiances urbaines ? En partant de cette question, la recherche vise à mieux comprendre les dimensions physiques, d’usage et sensibles de ces lieux, que nous appellerons « dispositifs spatio-climatiques », afin de cibler leurs futures applications pour l’adaptation des populations aux changements climatiques. COOLSCAPES est un projet ANR JCJC porté par Ignacio REQUENA au laboratoire AAU UMR 1563 CNRS/ECN/ENSAG/ENSAN.

The cooled urban space – L’espace urbain climatisé

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