People in urban areas frequently use parks for recreation and outdoor activities. Owing to the complexity of the outdoor environment, there have only been a few attempts to understand the effect of the thermal environment on people's use of outdoor spaces. This paper therefore seeks to determine the relationship between the thermal environment, park use and behavioural patterns in an urban area of Sweden. The methods used include structured interviews, unobtrusive observations of the naturally occurring behaviour and simultaneous measurements of thermal comfort variables, i.e., air temperature, air humidity, wind speed and global radiation. The thermal environment is investigated through the mean radiant temperature (T mrt) and the predicted mean vote (PMV) index. The outcome is compared to the subjective behaviour and thermal sensation of the interviewees. It is found that the thermal environment, access and design are important factors in the use of the park. In order to continue to use the park when the thermal conditions become too cold or too hot for comfort, people improve their comfort conditions by modifying their clothing and by choosing the most supportive thermal opportunities available within the place. The study also shows that psychological aspects such as time of exposure, expectations, experience and perceived control may influence the subjective assessment. Comparison between the thermal sensation of the interviewees and the thermal sensation assessed by the PMV index indicates that steady-state models such as the PMV index may not be appropriate for the assessment of short-term outdoor thermal comfort, mainly because they are unable to analyse transient exposure.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Baker RG (1968) Ecological psychology: concepts and methods for studying the environment of human behaviour. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif
Brager GS, Dear RJ de (1998) Thermal adaptation in the built environment: a literature review. Energy Buildings 27:83–96
Davenport AG (1965) The relationship of wind structure to wind loading. In: Wind effects on buildings and structures. Proceedings of the conference held at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, on 26, 27 and 28 June, 1963. Vol 1, Symposium 16. HMSO, London, pp 54–111
Donaldson GC, Rintamäki H, Näyhä S (2001) Outdoor clothing: its relationship to geography, climate, behaviour and cold-related mortality in Europe. Int J Biometeorol 45:45–51
Eliasson I (1996) Urban nocturnal temperatures, street geometry and land use. Atmos Environ 30:379–392
Eliasson I, Upmanis H (2000) Nocturnal airflow from urban parks-implications for city ventilation. Theor Appl Climatol 66:95–107
Fanger PO (1970) Thermal comfort. Danish Technical Press, Copenhagen
Fountain M, Brager G, Dear R de (1996) Expectations of indoor climatic control. Energy Buildings 24:179–182
Freitas CR de (1985) Assessment of human bioclimate based on thermal response. Int J Biometeorol 29:119
Gehl J (1968) Mennesker til fods (in Danish). Arkitekten 70:20:429–46
Gehl J (1996) Life between buildings, using public space. Arkitekt Forlag 173–201
Havenith G, Holmér I, Parson K (2002) Personal factors in thermal comfort assessment: clothing properties and metabolic heat production. Energy Buildings 34:581–591
Höppe P (1999) The physiological equivalent temperature PET – an universal index for the biometeorological assessment of the thermal environment. Int J Biometeorol 43:271–75
Höppe P (2002) Different aspects of assessing indoor and outdoor thermal comfort. Energy Buildings 34:661–665
Höppe P, Seidl HAJ (1991) Problems in assessment of the bioclimate for vacationists at the seaside. Int J Biometeorol 35:107–110
Jendritzky G, Sönning W, Swantes HJ (1979) Ein objectives Bewertungsverfahren zur Beschreibung dest thermischen Milieus in der Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung (Klima-Michel Modell). Akad Raumforsch Landesplan Beitr 28:85
Leech JA, Burnett R, Nelson W, Aaron SD, Raizenne M (2000) Outdoor air pollution Epidemiological studies. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 161:A308
Lindqvist S (1992) Local climatological modelling for road stretches and urban areas. Geogr Ann 74A:265–273
Matzarakis A (2002) Validation of modelled mean radiant temperature within urban structures. In: AMS, Fourth Symposium on the Urban Environment, 20–24 May 2002, Norfolk, Virginia. Abstr 7.3. American Meteorological Society, Boston, Mass, pp 72–73
Matzarakis A, Rutz F, Mayer H (2000) Estimation and calculation of the mean radiant temperature within urban structures. In: de Dear RJ, Kalma JD, Oke TR, Aulicems A (eds) Biometeorology and urban climatology at the turn of the millennium. Selected Papers from Conference ICB-ICUC'99, Sydney. World Climate Application and Service Programe. (WCASP-50), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)/TD 1026:273–278
Mayer H (1993) Urban bioclimatology. Experientia 49:957–963
Mayer H, Höppe P (1987) Thermal comfort of man in different urban environments. Theor Appl Climatol 38:43–49
Nagara K, Shimoda Y, Mizuno M (1996) Evaluation of the thermal environment in an outdoor pedestrian space. Atmos Environ 30:3:497–505
Nasar JL, Yurdakul AR (1990) Patterns of behaviour in urban public spaces. J Archit Plan Res 7:1:71–85
Nikolopoulou M, Steemers K (2003) Thermal comfort and psychological adaptation as a guide for designing urban spaces. Energy Buildings 35:95–101
Nikolopoulou M, Baker N, Steemers K (2001) Thermal comfort in outdoor urban spaces: understanding the human parameter. Solar Energy 70:3:227–235
Olesen BW, Parsons KC (2002) Introduction to thermal comfort standards and to proposed new version of EN ISO 7730. Energy Buildings 34:537–548
Parsons KC (2002) The effects of gender, acclimation state, the opportunity to adjust clothing and physical disability on requirements for thermal comfort. Energy Buildings 34:593–599
Upmanis H, Chen D (1999) Influence of geographical factors and meteorological variables on nocturnal urban – park temperature differences. A case study of summer 1995 in Göteborg, Sweden. Clim Res 13:125–139
Upmanis H, Eliasson I, Lindqvist S (1998) The influence of green areas on nocturnal temperatures in a high latitude city (Göteborg, Sweden). Int J Climatol 18:6:681–700
VDI (1994) VDI 3789, Part 2: Environmental meteorology, interactions between atmosphere and surfaces; calculation of the short- and long wave radiation. VDI/DIN-Handbuch Reinhaltung der Luft, Band 1b, Düsseldorf
VDI (1998) VDI 3787, Part I: Environmental meteorology, methods for the human biometeorological evaluation of climate and air quality for the urban and regional planning at regional level. Part I. Climate. VDI/DIN-Handbuch Reinhaltung der Luft, Band 1b, Düsseldorf
Zacharias J, Stathopoulos T, Hanqing W (2001) Microclimate and downtown open space activity. Environ Behav 33:2:296–315
The authors wish to thank Assistant Professor Ingegärd Eliasson, Dr Marie Eriksson and Mr. Fredrik Lindberg for their valuable comments on the manuscript. Assistant Professor Andreas Matzarakis is acknowledged for initiating discussions on the study and Mr. Hans Alter for technical support.
About this article
Cite this article
Thorsson, S., Lindqvist, M. & Lindqvist, S. Thermal bioclimatic conditions and patterns of behaviour in an urban park in Göteborg, Sweden. Int J Biometeorol 48, 149–156 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-003-0189-8
- Thermal comfort
- Human behaviour
- Structured interviews
- Urban park