Investigation of the relationship between human thermal comfort and activity patterns within the outdoor spaces of Bilkent University’s Main Campus

Nouri, Andre Santos
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Bilkent University
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The impact of climate change, resulting in rising temperatures, is believed to significantly influence the success or failure of outdoor spaces, with climatic factors playing a crucial role. Research has indicated that the maintenance of a comfortable thermal environment can have a notable impact on individuals' welfare. To date, global climate studies have not provided sufficient local specificity for urban planning and design. Consequently, there has been an increasing interest in incorporating complementary bottom-up perspectives. In line with this interest and focused on a particular case study, this thesis presents the findings of an empirical investigation conducted between May and September of 2022 at the main campus of Bilkent University located in Ankara, Turkey. In order to address physiological and psychological aspects of human thermal comfort and investigate the possible effect of human thermal comfort on lecturers’ and students’ activity patterns within outdoor spaces of the aforementioned campus, a two-phase study was designed. 12 days of observational studies during the first phase of this research produced a behavioral map, which when combined with a Shadow Behavior Simulation (SBS) map established the Points Of Interest (POI) of this research. Subsequently, in the second phase, 64 questionnaires were filled out by the pedestrian while microclimatic factors were measured in the POIs over the course of 13 days. In order to address the stated research questions, test the hypotheses, and propose design recommendations, through the application of the biometeorological RayMan model, the Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) index, and modified PET were applied, along with statistical analyses using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the cognitive maps considering microclimate. The findings of this study demonstrated good agreement between quantitative and qualitative results, presenting solar radiation as the most significant microclimatic factor. Human thermal comfort also had an impact on activity patterns within the study area, but not as significantly as seating availability for stationary activities and planning and function for moving activities.

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