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Provision of urban thermal comfort: a socio-technical approach to climate responsive urban design

Peker, E. (2016) Provision of urban thermal comfort: a socio-technical approach to climate responsive urban design. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This research claims that urban design as a discipline has the potential to catalyse the production of more climate responsive urban living environments. This is now a goal for many governments who are looking for ways to tackle climate change. The research argues that a climate responsive design (CRD) approach, which originated in the field of architecture, can be scaled-up to wider urban scales in order to activate the catalysing power of urban design. Climate responsive urban design (CRUD) can help to reduce energy consumption for the provision of thermal comfort in different layers of urban life. However, its application calls for the integration of `technical knowledge(s)` (i.e. building form, street geometry, density) and `social knowledge(s)` (i.e. lifestyle, socio-cultural values) that are generated through everyday life experiences and socio-cultural relationships of local people. Adopting a socio-technical approach, the research was conducted in Mardin, Turkey, a city in the south east of the country and a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of the city (the ‘Old Town’) evidences a mode of urban development that has been developed over thousands of years in response to climatic conditions, people’s lifestyles and their socio-ecologic values. The research takes a comparative approach to explore the similarities and differences between the way(s) in which urban thermal comfort is evidenced and provided within the ‘Old Town’ heritage site and a contemporary (‘New Town’) development delivered by the Turkish government using a standardized design. Various techniques such as in-depth interviewing, technical measurements (i.e. temperature, humidity), street questionnaires, ethnographic observation, photographing and video-recording were used. The results present that the current urban development pattern fits neither local requirements nor respond sufficiently to climatic variations of the type seen in Mardin. The research elaborates this mismatch by highlighting the responsive design clues/traces from the vernacular (‘Old Town’) urban development pattern which offer more responsive environments for the provision of thermal comfort. The research shows that, in order to achieve truly sustainable urban development, there is a need to (re)define climate responsive urban design to better respond to local climatic characteristics and consider local people`s perceptions and comfort requirements under specific climatic conditions.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Street, E. and Yao, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Real Estate and Planning
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:66475

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