Pedestrian wind environment around buildings: Literature review and practical examples

B.J.E. Blocken, J.E. Carmeliet

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The construction of a building inevitably changes the microclimate in its vicinity. In particular near high-rise buildings, high wind velocities are often introduced at pedestrian level that can be experienced as uncomfortable or even dangerous. Therefore, the design of a building should not only focus on the building envelope and on providing good indoor environment, but should also include the effect of the design on the outdoor environment. The outdoor environment of a building, in particular related to wind, has received relatively little attention in the Building Physics community. The present paper addresses Building Physicists and focuses on the outdoor wind environment for pedestrians. First, a literature review on pedestrian wind studies is provided. The relation between wind effects, wind comfort, wind danger and wind climate is outlined. A brief review on wind tunnel and numerical modeling of building aerodynamics and pedestrian wind is given. The typical wind flow pattern around buildings and the related wind environment at pedestrian level are discussed. Second, these problems are illustrated by means of four practical examples, where the unfavorable pedestrian wind environment has been, is or should be a matter of serious concern for the building designers and the building owner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-159
Number of pages53
JournalJournal of Thermal Envelope and Building Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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