Studying the Effect of Blue-Green Infrastructure on Microclimate and Human Thermal Comfort in Melbourne’s Central Business District

Fatma Balany, Nitin Muttil, Shobha Muthukumaran, Man Sing Wong, Anne W.M. Ng

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Abstract

Blue-green infrastructure (BGI) is defined as a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services, which include microclimate regulation and enhanced human thermal comfort. While green infrastructure is widely known to be capable of mitigating the adverse effects of urban heat island, the effect of blue infrastructure to regulate thermal comfort is still poorly understood. This study investigates several blue-green-infrastructure (BGI) scenarios in the central business district (CBD) of Melbourne, Australia to assess their effects on microclimate and human thermal comfort. Three-dimensional microclimatic modelling software, ENVI-met, was used to simulate the microclimate and human thermal comfort. Physiological equivalent temperature (PET) was used to quantify the level of thermal comfort in selected research areas. Ten different scenarios were simulated, which included those based on green roofs, green walls, trees, ponds and fountains. The simulations suggest that green roofs and green walls in the high-rise building environment have a small temperature reduction in its surrounding area by up to 0.47 °C and 0.27 °C, respectively, and there is no noticeable improvement in the level of thermal perception. The tree-based scenarios decrease temperature by up to 0.93 °C and improve the thermal perception from hot to warm. Scenarios based on water bodies and fountains decrease the temperature by up to 0.51 °C and 1.48 °C, respectively, yet they cannot improve the thermal perception of the area. A deeper water body has a better microclimate improvement as compared to a shallow one. The temperature reduction in the fountain scenario tends to be local and the effect could only be felt within a certain radius from the fountain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9057
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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