The Comfort Pursuit

Research projects

Economic Benefits of Urban Comfort
Urban Climate Adaptation Strategies: A New Zealand Contribution
Promoting urban comfort in a compact future: Developing Urban Comfort as an analytical tool
Urban Comfort: Adaptive Capacity in Post Earthquake Christchurch

*********************************************************************************************
Economic Benefits of Urban Comfort

This project has the main objective of evaluating the commercial vitality of streets in regards to urban comfort and climate. The project is divided into two parts:

  1. Urban comfort in Cairns – Investigation of comfort in public open spaces as a construct and cultural product rather than only as a human physiological attribute.
  2. Economic benefits of urban comfort in Cairns – Investigation of the relationships between urban comfort and economy

 
Grants
JCU Startup Grant

*********************************************************************************************
Urban Climate Adaptation: A New Zealand Contribution

This project is part of an international study aimed at identifying differences in the way countries and urban authorities are implementing adaptation strategies to improve urban climate in the face of climate change.

*********************************************************************************************
Promoting urban comfort in a compact future: Developing Urban Comfort as an analytical tool

Evaluation of the performance and appropriateness of the central City Blueprint in post-earthquake Christchurch, particularly in regards to urban comfort and current challenges cities worldwide are facing regarding climate change.

 

*********************************************************************************************
Urban Comfort: Adaptive Capacity in Post Earthquake Christchurch

Established methods of investigation based upon conventions drawn from building services research and framed by physiological concepts of thermal comfort may fail to capture the social dynamics of urban activity and their interrelationship with microclimate. This research investigated the relationship between microclimate and urban culture in Christchurch, New Zealand, based upon the concept of urban comfort. Urban comfort is defined as the socio-cultural (therefore collective) adaptation to microclimate due to satisfaction with the urban environment. It involves consideration of a combination of human thermal comfort requirements and adaptive comfort circumstances, preferences and strategies. A main methodological challenge was to investigate urban comfort in a city undergoing rapid physical change following a series of major earthquakes (2010-2011), and that also has a strongly seasonal climate which accentuates microclimatic variability. The field investigation had to be suitable for rapidly changing settings as buildings were demolished and rebuilt, and be able to capture data relevant to a cycle of seasons. These local circumstances meant that Christchurch was valuable as an example of a city facing rapid and unpredictable change. An interpretive, integrative, and adaptive research strategy that combined qualitative social science methods with biophysical measures was adopted. The results are based upon participant observation, 86 in-depth interviews with Christchurch residents, and microclimate data measurements. The interviews were carried out in a variety of urban settings including established urban settings (places sustaining relatively little damage) and emerging urban settings (those requiring rebuilding) during 2011-2013. Results of this research show that urban comfort depends on adaptive strategies which in turn depend on culture. Adaptive strategies identified through the data analysis show a strong connection between natural and built landscapes, combined with the regional outdoor culture, the Garden City identity and the connections between rural and urban landscapes. The results also highlight that thermal comfort is an important but insufficient indicator of good microclimate design, as social and cultural values are important influences on climate experience and adaptation. Interpretive research is needed to fully understand urban comfort and to provide urban microclimate design solutions to enhance the use of public open spaces in cities undergoing change.

Grant
Lincoln University PhD Teacher Fellow Scholarship

Publications

%d bloggers like this: