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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Designing for an acceptable wind environment

  • Author(s): Arens, Edward A
  • et al.

Tall or exposed buildings adjacent to public open spaces may cause local winds at ground level that are much more intense than winds found elsewhere at ground level. These winds may affect the comfort and safety of pedestrians and thus reduce the usefulness of the outdoor open spaces. In recent years, wind problems have become more common, as more tall buildings are built and as cities and building owners place increasing emphasis on public plazas and open space. Since both the cost and economic benefits of such plazas and open space may be very high, significant financial losses may occur when such spaces re rendered unusable due to wind.

The designers of buildings and their sites would benefit from being able to anticipate, in the planning stage, the possibility of local wind flow zones that cause unacceptable discomfort to users of outdoor space. If such zones are found, appropriate design decisions can eliminate them or direct pedestrians away from them.

This paper reviews present knowledge of pedestrian comfort in the wind and outlines how to design projects that avoid unacceptable wind environment.

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