Thermal comfort in urban green spaces: a survey on a Dutch university campus

Y. Wang, R. de Groot, F. Bakker, H.J. Wörtche, R. Leemans

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62 Citations (Scopus)
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To better understand the influence of urban green infrastructure (UGI) on outdoor human thermal comfort, a survey and physical measurements were performed at the campus of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, in spring and summer 2015. Three hundred eighty-nine respondents were interviewed in five different green spaces. We aimed to analyze people’s thermal comfort perception and preference in outdoor urban green spaces, and to specify the combined effects between the thermal environmental and personal factors. The results imply that non-physical environmental and subjective factors (e.g., natural view, quiet environment, and emotional background) were more important in perceiving comfort than the actual thermal conditions. By applying a linear regression and probit analysis, the comfort temperature was found to be 22.2 °C and the preferred temperature was at a surprisingly high 35.7 °C. This can be explained by the observation that most respondents, who live in temperate regions, have a natural tendency to describe their preferred state as “warmer” even when feeling “warm” already. Using the Kruskal-Wallis H test, the four significant factors influencing thermal comfort were people’s exposure time in green spaces, previous thermal environment and activity, and their thermal history. However, the effect of thermal history needs further investigation due to the unequal sample sizes of respondents from different climate regions. By providing evidence for the role of the objective and subjective factors on human thermal comfort, the relationship between UGI, microclimate, and thermal comfort can assist urban planning to make better use of green spaces for microclimate regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Biometeorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Urban green infrastructure
  • Thermal adaptation
  • emperate regions
  • Correlation analysis
  • Outdoor thermal comfort ∙ Urban green infrastructure ∙ Thermal adaptation ∙ Temperate regions ∙ Correlation analysis
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Wind
  • Temperature
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Microclimate
  • Thermosensing
  • Universities
  • Young Adult
  • Netherlands
  • Adolescent
  • Humidity
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Cities


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