Outdoor thermal comfort tool for urban planning launched

Image: Tom Wang/

Autodesk company Spacemaker has launched a visual tool that allows planners and designers to work out the thermal comfort of outdoor spaces.

Microclimate analysis can detect how early-stage plans are affected by environmental factors such as noise, daylight and wind.

As the climate heats up and concreted areas are susceptible to urban heat islands (UHI), temperature differences of up to 10°C can be felt between urban and rural areas.

“The microclimate analysis is a significant step in giving designers the right tools to make smarter, data-driven decisions from day one. This leads to solutions that mitigate the impact of climate change by ensuring optimal living conditions while increasing the resilience of cities,” said Håvard Haukeland, co-founder of Spacemaker and senior director at Autodesk.

The Spacemaker team used the Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) metric to develop the tool as well as spending two years researching thermal stress and perceived temperature.

Haukeland said while other methods to measure thermal comfort do exist, these usually have to be run by experts, take hours to run, and don’t provide data visualisation.

Inputs to the microclimate analysis can be easily adjusted and the results immediately viewed on a thermal comfort map. Timeframes and temperatures can be customised and viewed on a comfort frequency map. 

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