CE22 - Mobilité et systèmes urbains durables

The cooled urban space : technological, spatial and cultural perspectives – COOLSCAPES

Coolscapes

The cooled urban space: technological, spatial and cultural perspectives

Research aims and objectives

The COOLSCAPES project’s aim is to study these spatio-climatic devices within their physical, use and sensory dimensions. A better understanding of their effects will help identifying the appropriate cooling techniques for the populations facing the future climate. Three specific objectives lead this project: (1) characterizing and spatializing the climate parameters in terms of ambiance; (2) characterizing the citizens’ uses and perceptions; and (3) analysing the current cooling practices and identifying the emerging lines of reflection.

The interdisciplinary research will revolve around three phases. Firstly, we will identify and analyse innovative devices, either on the technical or spatial scale. Secondly, relying on a selection of devices, we will set up a research methodology based on data collected in situ. We will undergo work on geo-tracked physical measurements on the pedestrian’s scale in order to characterize the thermal parameters in terms of ambiance. A specific mobile measuring device will be conceived to this end. We will then study the uses and behaviours, before examining the citizens’ sensory perception, using targeted methods. These two steps make up the base of a methodological experimentation on the cross-referencing of quantitative and qualitative data. Lastly, we will undertake a documentation work on the state of play, and an identification work regarding perspectives on cooling systems for the urban space. This last step will be possible through open interviews and a prospective seminar, involving outside experts.

On the scientific level, the study will offer innovative empirical and theoretical knowledge on cooled urban spaces in temperate cities. The results will allow for a better and finer understanding of the link between cooling techniques and spaces, uses and perceptions. The research subject will provide a prime testing ground for interdisciplinary research, stimulating the intersection of humanities and social sciences, engineering and environmental science, as well as architecture and urban planning.

On the economic, social and cultural levels, the study will be directly in touch with local services and communities regarding the debate on urban summer comfort. On the one hand, our contributions will allow us to better understand the effects and potential of spatio-climatic devices for the institutional adjustment initiatives to climate change. On the other hand, we will support the transfer of knowledge with professionals (designers, planners, operators, producers). Lastly, we will establish an interdisciplinary network around the AAU UMR, composed of national and international stakeholders, regarding cooled urban space.

Within temperate zones, the current climate projections anticipate a rise in temperatures, as well as a rise in the frequency of extreme heat events. Such case would disturb the inhabitants’ acclimatisation practices in these areas, leading to the emerging of cooling systems for public and private urban spaces.
In this instance, the expression “cooling systems” is understood beyond air-conditioning systems, and is considered as a set of techniques offering different degrees for conditioning the climate parameters within the built environment. Nowadays, cooling takes new forms within urban space, which we call “spatio-climatic devices” (e.g. cooling canopies, miroirs d’eau, air-conditioned envelopes). In the European context, the consequences of these devices on the material forms, social practices and sensory perceptions in the urban space are little known.
The COOLSCAPES project’s aim is to study these spatio-climatic devices within their physical, use and sensory dimensions. A better understanding of their effects will help identifying the appropriate cooling techniques for the populations facing the future climate. Three specific objectives lead this project: (1) characterizing and spatializing the climate parameters in terms of ambiance; (2) characterizing the citizens’ uses and perceptions; and (3) analysing the current cooling practices and identifying the emerging lines of reflection.
The interdisciplinary research will revolve around three phases. Firstly, we will identify and analyse innovative devices, either on the technical or spatial scale. Secondly, relying on a selection of devices, we will set up a research methodology based on data collected in situ. We will undergo work on geo-tracked physical measurements on the pedestrian’s scale in order to characterize the thermal parameters in terms of ambiance. A specific mobile measuring device will be conceived to this end. We will then study the uses and behaviours, before examining the citizens’ sensory perception, using targeted methods. These two steps make up the base of a methodological experimentation on the cross-referencing of quantitative and qualitative data. Lastly, we will undertake a documentation work on the state of play, and an identification work regarding perspectives on cooling systems for the urban space. This last step will be possible through open interviews and a prospective seminar, involving outside experts.
On the scientific level, the study will offer innovative empirical and theoretical knowledge on cooled urban spaces in temperate cities. The results will allow for a better and finer understanding of the link between cooling techniques and spaces, uses and perceptions. The research subject will provide a prime testing ground for interdisciplinary research, stimulating the intersection of humanities and social sciences, engineering and environmental science, as well as architecture and urban planning.
On the economic, social and cultural levels, the study will be directly in touch with local services and communities regarding the debate on urban summer comfort. On the one hand, our contributions will allow us to better understand the effects and potential of spatio-climatic devices for the institutional adjustment initiatives to climate change. On the other hand, we will support the transfer of knowledge with professionals (designers, planners, operators, producers). Lastly, we will establish an interdisciplinary network around the AAU UMR, composed of national and international stakeholders, regarding cooled urban space.

Project coordination

Ignacio Requena-Ruiz (Ambiances Architectures Urbanités)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

Ambiances Architectures Urbanités

Help of the ANR 189,402 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2018 - 42 Months

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