Immersed in microclimate space: Microclimate experience and perception of spatial configurations in Dutch squares

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Thermal comfort forms an important factor for the usability and attractiveness of outdoor places. Recent research on thermal comfort indicates that next to physical parameters psychological factors are equally important. Yet, new knowledge on perceptions of microclimate in outdoor space that can serve as a basis for urban spatial design has been lacking. Therefore this study tried to elucidate some of the essential factors influencing microclimate perceptions and how these perceptions relate to the typical microclimate of these spatial configurations. To achieve this, data on long-term spatial microclimate perception were acquired through interviews and microclimate measurements on three Dutch squares. The microclimate impressions of users were mapped and compiled in “collective cognitive maps” for microclimate perceptions. Analysis of these maps showed that people assign certain microclimate characteristics to some spatial configurations. These spatial configurations were firstly compared to microclimate measurement results taken on the three squares. Secondly, they were analyzed according to their volumetric properties and expected microclimate properties. This revealed that people's microclimate perceptions were generally speaking quite accurate. Some useful spatial design guidelines that respond to people's microclimate perception could be concluded from this study
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • thermal comfort
  • urban spaces
  • place

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