Ivan Eladio Gaxiola Camacho Abstracts

Ivan Eladio Gaxiola Camacho

Ph.D. Candidate

Arid Lands Resource Sciences GIDP


Urban Agriculture 2018

Hampshire, United Kingdom

October 9-11, 2018


Abstract for Lay Audience


 The thermal comfort experienced by humans in outdoor spaces can be affected by the layout of the surrounding built environment. This human environmental sensation, mostly driven by architectural circumstances of space, is known as human thermal comfort. An environmental phenomenon of cities which has a negative impact on human thermal comfort is the urban heat island. This occurs, mostly during nighttime, when inappropriate employment of building materials, used in the development of cities, becomes evident in the decreased natural capacity of the earth’s surface to release heat absorbed during the day. As a result, surface and air temperature of urban centers tend to be higher than in the surrounding non-urban areas.

The geometry of outdoor space, the physical properties of building materials, and the employment of vegetation are key factors to manage weather conditions from a human standpoint, particularly in cities within regions where aridity represents a dominant driver of the environment, such as in Tucson, Arizona. In addition, if plants which are capable of producing crops are effectively grown as part of outdoors building infrastructure, food scarcity can be diminished, air quality can be improved, water can be used more efficiently, and the urban heat island can eventually be mitigated.

In view of the above, simulations of different distribution and amount of plants for an existing outdoor space, within the main campus of the University of Arizona, were examined to find out the level of human thermal comfort that could be reached. This investigation was based on an existing scientific procedure which involves the analysis of fish-eye lens photographs gathered on site, and the use of computer software capable of estimating human thermal comfort indices. Further inspection was possible by examining computer-based fish-eye lens images developed from a digital three-dimensional model of the site in question.

After comparing existing human thermal comfort conditions to those simulated with the integration of vegetated surfaces and a body of water, it was found that outdoor spaces in arid environments can be more thermally comfortable by appropriately integrating plants and water.

Last updated 4 Jun 2019