SuStainable Development in a DeSert Climate
This chapter of the Master Plan provides an assessment of the conditions
affecting the thermal comfort of pedestrians and the Urban Heat
Island Effect in Downtown Phoenix Arizona. It also provides a set of
standards in the form of zoning and building code regulations that,
if adopted, will create a more comfortable and sustainable downtown
environment. It is based on an extensive year-long research project by
ASU and architects Studio Ma.
Thermal comfort is a key to the success of Downtown Phoenix.
Extreme summer heat has resulted in stressful street level conditions
in the Downtown area, to the extent that is has a negative impact the
development of a pedestrian-friendly, civic environment.
Acceptable levels of thermal comfort can be achieved in Downtown
through an integrated approach to the design of the urban environment
that includes street and building proportions, open space, urban
forestry, building design and appropriate materials.
in a Desert Climate
DoWntoWn pHoeniX plan
One of the key aspects of the research is a consideration of the role
of urban form, understood as the integrated design of streets and
buildings, relative to issues of thermal comfort and the Urban Heat
Island Effect (UHI). Despite the strong relationship between these
two conditions, methods to improve thermal comfort are not always
consistent with the methods needed to mitigate UHI.
Located in the upper reaches of the Sonoran Region, Phoenix has an
arid, semitropical climate characterized by mild winters and extreme
summer temperatures. Winter temperatures range from average lows
of 42°F of 66°F while summer temperatures range from average lows
of 81°F degrees to average highs of 106°F. The average humidity levels
are low allowing for greater levels of comfort at higher temperatures,
however the heat of the late summer months is exacerbated by higher
humidity levels due moisture drawn up from th