Understanding Air Temperature

The temperature of air surrounding us has a dramatic effect on how we experience a space and what we do/think while we’re in it.  The highlights of neuroscience research on our “best temperatures,” how design can influence how warm/cold we think a space is, and why ambient temperature matters at all are reviewed here.

Changing Neighborhood Temperatures (03-28-22)

Research indicates that urban design is affecting neighborhood temperatures.  A study conducted in Australia by Rouhollahi, Boland, and others determined that “New housing subdivisions, smaller yards and a dependence on air conditioning have resulted in a 30 per cent decline in Australian residential trees in the past decade, leading to hotter neighbourhoods and increased energy costs.”

Beware of High Temperature Walks (03-14-22)

Asano and colleagues learned that walking in hot outdoor environments can harm subsequent cognitive performance indoors;  this finding supports creating more temperature controlled indoor walking areas in office complexes and similar locations.  The research team reports that “In the experiments [conducted], a total of 96 participants took a mathematical addition test in an air-conditioned room before and after walking in an actual outdoor environment.

Comfortable City Temperatures (12-30-21)

Speak and Salbitano evaluated comfort in a range of different urban places.  They report that The present study is based on a campaign of meteorological measurements in a large number of sites using a mobile data collection system to allow a human-centred approach. . . . In the case study of Florence, local physical characteristics of the sites; Sky View Factor (SVF), tree shade, ground surface cover, and canyon effect, can moderate human exposure to potentially uncomfortable thermal conditions during a typical Mediterranean summer.


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