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Urban havens for vulnerable zones

Type of activity
Competitive project
Acronym
VeUvE
Funding entity
AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACION
Funding entity code
PID2020-116036RB-I00
Amount
170.731,00 €
Start date
2021-09-01
End date
2025-08-31
Abstract
In the last 60 years, the percentage of urban population increased from the 33% to the 55% of the total and it is expected to reach the 70%
by 2050. Densely populated cities amplify the vulnerability and health risk of more disadvantaged groups to the impact of climate change. Health and wellbeing in buildings and public spaces are increasingly influential factors of the sustainability of
the built environment, which should be addressed combining energy efficient solutions with an human-centred design approach.
Compact cities in the Mediterranean region have proved to be efficient models in terms of energy use for transportation and buildings.
However, the high efficiency of urban compactness may also result in a lower resilience of the urban environment in facing disrupting
events. In fact, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of both indoor and outdoor spaces plays a pivotal role on the
physical and mental health of urban dwellers and on the ability of urban systems to adapt to changing conditions.
The quality of outdoor has been much less investigated than the health and comfort in indoor spaces. However, the utility of intermediate
spaces like balconies and rooftops was utterly demonstrated during the pandemic, unveiling that the connection with the exterior is a
fundamental need for urban citizens.
High quality public spaces can provide a liveable outdoor environment and promote a healthy lifestyle in dense urban areas. However,
when the public space is scarce and neglected, a common condition in vulnerable neighbourhoods, the overall quality of urban life lowers
substantially.
This project aims at defining a set of indicators to assess the environmental quality of outdoor spaces in relation to their potential to
improve the quality of life of vulnerable groups of population.
Particular attention will be payed to summer periods. In fact, thermal comfort and urban health are more concerning due to the combined
effect of the urban heat island and more frequent and intense heat waves.
This project intends to characterise these urban havens in correlation to existing indexes of vulnerability in order to identify the areas
where are more lacking.
Microclimate effect on users comfort will be evaluated by adopting a holistic and human-centric point of view. The characteristics of the
urban microclimate will be assessed in relation to the sensation and perception of people at the street level, considering thermal, visual
and acoustic comfort and air quality.
The environmental quality of urban spaces will be assessed considering key features of the urban fabric that influence urban microclimate,
based on scientific literature and previous work of the research group. These are: surface permeability, presence of different species of
vegetation, urban morphology, solar access of streets and facades, lighting conditions, ventilation, anthopogenic heat from traffic and
buildings HVAC systems and reflectivity of materials.
The novelty of this project is to include in the same georeferenced database the vulnerability indicators currently already mapped with the
microclimatic data of the selected case studies.
The result should provide guidelines to help in the decision making process when favouring the implementation of spaces that increase the
resilience of the city (urban havens) where its effect are most beneficial for the population (vulnerable neighbourhoods) and fot the urban
system at whole.
Keywords
cambio climático, climate change, espacio urbano, isla de calor, public space, urban heat island, vulnerabilidad habitacional, vulnerability
Scope
Adm. Estat
Plan
PLAN ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA Y TÉCNICA Y DE INNOVACIÓN 2017-2020
Resoluton year
2021
Funcding program
PROGRAMA ESTATAL DE I+D+I ORIENTADA A LOS RETOS DE LA SOCIEDAD
Funding call
RETOS DE INVESTIGACIÓN: PROYECTOS DE I+D+I
Grant institution
Agencia Estatal De Investigacion

Participants