Highly relevant to an individual's thermal perception, the thermal environment in outdoor public spaces impacts the use of such spaces. Thermal adaptation, which involves physiological, psychological and behavioral factors, also plays an important role in assessment of thermal environments by users. Given that these issues have rarely been addressed for outdoor environments in hot and humid regions, this study examines user thermal comfort in a public square in Taiwan. Physical measurements were taken and a questionnaire survey was used to assess the thermal comfort of subjects. The number of people visiting the square was also counted. Analytical results indicate that the thermal comfort range and neutral temperature of subjects was higher than those of people in a temperate region. Additionally, local subjects preferred a cool temperature and weak sunlight, and adapted to thermal environments by seeking shelter outdoors. Analytical results confirm the existence of thermal adaptation and illustrate the characteristics of, and variances in, thermal adaptation. During the cool season, the number of people visiting the square increased as the thermal index value increased. However, the number of people frequenting the square decreased as the thermal index increased during the hot season. These experimental results were compared with those for temperate regions, indicating that the human energy balance model cannot fully explain the influence of climate on use of public spaces; that is, psychological and behavioral factors also play important roles in outdoor thermal comfort. Study findings also elucidate design of outdoor public spaces in hot and humid regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Building and Construction