Assessment of urban heat: approaching walkability from a multi-scalar perspective

Mushtaq, Shiza
Under the impacts of climate change, the growing intensity of heat waves pose a significant public health risk and affect daily life both in living spaces and public places. However, it is possible to mitigate urban heat, increase urban mobility and promote walkability with data-informed urban design policies. The literature on urban mobility examines the walkability capacity of public spaces concerning environmental, social, and human physiological factors. In contrast, fewer studies address the impact of urban heat on walkability by mapping urban and metropolitan systems in detail and at multiscale. This thesis examines urban heat indicators and their effect on thermal comfort associated walkability in the city by interpreting the empirical findings from this research. It aims to develop an assessment methodology to monitor changes in land use, land surface temperature, and vegetation health in Ankara at multiple scales (provincial, metropolitan, district and neighborhood), using only open-source data. LANDSAT images are utilized to quantify the spatio-temporal LST and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for selected years between 1990 and 2021. CORINE Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) maps are extracted for the same dates and geographical boundaries. To further investigate the impacts of urban design interventions at the micro-scale, this thesis analyzes urban design scenarios for four different building blocks with distinct street features through microclimate simulations prepared by using ENVI-met software. These analyses mainly seek to examine and reveal the cooling potential of ground surface permeability, soil type, and shade provided by trees, canopies, or buildings. The findings of this thesis are valuable contributions to the practice of climate-responsive urban design and reinforce the significance of studying walkability in relation to urban heat.


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Citation Formats
S. Mushtaq, “Assessment of urban heat: approaching walkability from a multi-scalar perspective,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2023.