The Comfort Pursuit

Urban Comfort: The physical and social landscape as constituent of the climate experience

I recently published a paper entitled “Urban Comfort: The physical and social landscape as constituent of the climate experience” (original in Portuguese: Conforto Urbano: A paisagem física e social como constituinte da experiência climática) in Cadernos do PROARQ. This is a Brazilian journal published in Portuguse by the Postgraduate Program in Architecture at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Writing a paper in Portuguese as a solo author was a good experience. I haven’t done this for a long while, and now I plan to do frequently.

The full edition where this paper was published is available here, and the full paper is available here, and the abstract is below:

This study investigates relationships between society, culture, and adaptation to the climate through the concept of urban comfort. Urban comfort presents an innovative perspective re- garding the influence of local sociocultural values on responses to climate. It is a cultural product, which takes human adaptation as central to the urban climate experience. The urban comfort concept is based on the premise that people adapt to the urban microclimate if they have reasons to do so, however, these reasons vary according to culture. The investigation was applied to case studies as a way of testing the concept and identifying its defining variables. It used ethnographic methods (participant observation and semi-structured interviews) and microclimatic measurements, and results suggest that preference for the type of public space is related to past experiences and physical and social landscape. Moreover, according to the character of these spaces, the design of microclimate becomes more or less important, and this is relevant as microclimate is not always controllable. If considered in projects for public spaces, urban comfort has the potential of extending the time and intensity of use of public spaces, contributing to wellbeing and local urban economies.

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