This empirical study investigates large urban park cooling effects on the thermal comfort of occupants in the vicinity of the main central park, located in Madrid, Spain. Data were gathered during hot summer days, using mobile observations and a questionnaire. The results showed that the cooling effect of this urban park of 140 ha area at a distance of 150 m is able to reduce temperature by an average of 0.63°C and 1.28°C for distances of 380 m and of 665 meters from the park. Moreover, the degree of the Physiological Equivalent Temperature (PET) index at a distance of 150 meters from the park is on average 2°C PET and 2.3°C PET less compared to distances of 380 m and 665 m, respectively. Considering distance from the park, the correlation between occupant Perceived Thermal Comfort (PTC) and PET is inverse. That is, augmenting the distance from park increases PET, while the extent of PTC reduces accordingly. The correlation between these two factors at the nearest and furthest distances from the park is meaningful (P-value <0/05). The results also showed that large-scale urban parks generally play a significant part in creating a cognitive state of high-perceived thermal comfort spaces for residents.
Design and Validation of a Computational Program for Analysing Mental Maps: Aram Mental Map Analyzer
Considering citizens' perceptions of their living environment is very helpful in making the right decisions for city planners who intend to build a sustainable society. Mental map analyses are widely used in understanding the level of perception of individuals regarding the surrounding environment. The present study introduces Aram Mental Map Analyzer (AMMA), an open-source program, which allows researchers to use special features and new analytical methods to receive outputs in numerical data and analytical maps with greater accuracy and speed. AMMA performance is contingent upon two principles of accuracy and complexity, the accuracy of the program is measured by Accuracy Placed Landmarks (APL) and General Orientation (GO), which respectively analyses the landmark placement accuracy and the main route mapping accuracy. Also, the complexity section is examined through two analyses Cell Percentage (CP) and General Structure (GS), which calculates the complexity of citizens’ perception of space based on the criteria derived from previous studies. AMMA examines all the dimensions and features of the graphic maps, and its outputs have a wide range of valid and differentiated information, which is tailored to the research and information subject matter that is required.
Investigating the role of Retiro Park in creating the thermal and psychological comfort and tranquility of citizens
Due to the urban heat island (UHI) the citizens' lives have faced many problems, including loss of physical and psychological comfort. However, urban green spaces are always considered as a productive way to reduce the adverse effects of heat islands. Urban green space has a cooling effect that varies depending upon the size, shape, density of vegetation, and the elements in it. According to the studies, large urban green spaces with an area of more than 10 ha have an average cooling effect of 1-2 ° C, affecting an average of 350 m distance; thereby creating thermal comfort in the area around them. Retiro Park in the center of Madrid, with a total area of 140 ha, has a significant impact on reducing the effects of the thermal islands in Madrid. For this purpose, in the leading research, Retiro Park was selected to investigate the impact of this Park on thermal comfort in three areas of north, west, and south. In each of these neighborhoods, three points were considered at a distance of 150-160 meters, 300-360 meters, and 600-650 meters, respectively (a total of 9 locations). The weather data was also collected in the form of field research in three days, 22 June, 10, and 24 July 2018. Furthermore, 209 questionnaires were collected from people living in nine locations, in relation to their feelings about thermal conditions. A map of each area was also provided to the questionnaire to identify the places where they felt most relaxed and who liked to spend more time in the area. The results of the study showed that the air temperature of areas close to the park (100-150 m), is about 1.5-2 ° C colder than the points with distances of 600 to 650 m. In addition, there was an inverse relationship between the distance from the park and the level of people's perception of thermal comfort. Citizens' drawings also showed that the Park of Retiro is the most perceived place to have a comfortable climate in the city, and residents are keener to spend their time in the park.