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Human-biometeorological conditions and thermal perception in a Mediterranean coastal park

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Abstract

This study looks at the interrelation of human-biometeorological conditions, physiological thermal stress and subjective thermal perception in the design and use of a new waterfront park in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Our initial assumption was that the park's design would embody a comprehensive response to the area's ever-increasing heat stress and water shortage. However, almost half of it is covered by grass lawns, irrigated with fresh water, while the remaining area is mainly covered with concrete paving, with minimal shading and sparse trees. We hypothesized that stressful thermal conditions would prevail in the park in the summer season and would be expressed in a high discomfort perception of its users. Thermo-physiological stress conditions in a typical summer month were compared with the subjective comfort perceptions of pedestrians surveyed in the park. It was found that even during mid-day hours, the level of thermal stress tends to be relatively mild, owing largely to the strong sea breeze and despite the high intensity of solar radiation. Moreover, it appears that the largely favorable perception of comfort among individuals may also result from socio-cultural aspects related to their satisfaction with the park's aesthetic attractiveness and in fact its very existence. Adaptive planning is proposed for such vulnerable regions, which are expected to experience further aggravation in thermal comfort due to global as well as localized warming trends.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the Tel Aviv Municipality park authorities and park planner Architect Aliza Braude, for their generous assistance. The research was supported by funds provided by the Department of Geography and the Human Environment, Tel Aviv University and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF, grant no. 597/13). We thank our research assistant Assaf Frances for distributing the questionnaires and assisting with the empirical study of the park and the technicians, Mr. Yaron Yaacov and Mr. Wolfgang Motzafi-Haller, for carrying out the field measurements and Miss Carmel Hanany for her help with the drawings and images. We thank the two anonymous reviewers whose suggestions helped to improve the manuscript

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Correspondence to Hadas Saaroni.

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Saaroni, H., Pearlmutter, D. & Hatuka, T. Human-biometeorological conditions and thermal perception in a Mediterranean coastal park. Int J Biometeorol 59, 1347–1362 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-014-0944-z

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Keywords

  • Thermal comfort
  • Comfort perception
  • Heat stress
  • Index of Thermal Stress (ITS)
  • Sea breeze
  • Coastal park
  • Tel Aviv-Jaffa