WIT Press

Architectural implementation of vegetated cover from agriculture for restoring human thermal comfort and mitigating the urban heat island effect in arid regions


Free (open access)


Volume 13 (2018), Issue 4



Page Range

373 - 383

Paper DOI



WIT Press


I.E. Gaxiola, N.V. Chalfoun & C. Moeller


This investigation describes improved outdoor Human Thermal Comfort levels, based on the effects of integrating vegetated surfaces, such as those from Urban Agriculture systems, to architecture components of a building envelope within Tucson, Arizona, which can contribute on Urban Heat Island mitigation. Urban Agriculture comprises the integration of crop production with the built environment, it can contribute to improving buildings’ performance, reducing air pollution, alleviating food scarcity, reducing stormwater runoff, decreasing fossil fuel use, and restoring Human Thermal Comfort. A methodology for outdoor Human Thermal Comfort assessment was applied. It involved the use of digital analysis of fish-eye lens photographs, and ‘OUTDOOR’, a computer software developed by Nader Chalfoun, Ph.D., at the University of Arizona, which is capable of calculating Human Thermal Comfort indices. Assumptions of this study include: access to water, soil, air, a building envelope, and the presence of vertical and horizontal arrangements of vegetated surfaces, produced in successfully developed Urban Agriculture systems around a selected building envelope in a hot-arid climate. Existing Human Thermal Comfort conditions were compared to those simulated with the integration of vegetated surfaces in order to evaluate the potential effects of Urban Agriculture, and to reach restored Human Thermal Comfort levels.


fish-eye lens photograph, hemispherical photography, human thermal comfort, human view- factor, mean radiant temperature, urban agriculture, urban heat island.