A Study of “Local Climate Zone (LCZ)” of Sub-tropical China’s Pearl River Delta (PRD) region by using The World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT) Method for better Comfortable Living and Sustainable Urban Planning  (14643816) (1 Dec 16 - 31 May 19)
• Researchers: REN Chao, Kevin LAU, XU Yong
• Funding Amount: HK$685,970
• Funding source: Research Grants Council - General Research Fund

Urban planners and governments need information to integrate urban climatic understanding when designing more livable cities. China’s Pearl River Delta (PRD) region is the most densely populated and urbanized region in the world, and its urban expansion and development will continue. The associated environmental pressures will exacerbate the already serious urban heat island (UHI) effects, worse heat stresses and cause high public health risks. These problems must not be under estimated. There is a need to better understanding the physical surface properties of the urban areas of the PRD region. It will help planners to quantify the UHI intensities of the city. This will lead to better informed planning to improve the urban thermal living conditions. The initial concept of the Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification system was developed by Stewart and Oke (2012). It aims to characterize local urban surfaces with regard to their effect on local climate. Recent studies making use of the LCZ scheme have concentrated mostly on quantifying the air temperature differentials between the various LCZs (Stewart et al., 2014). There is a need to extend the study scope of the LCZ to its related thermal comfort studies, and to apply the more comprehensive understanding to develop methods to aid planners.

The proposed project aims to contribute to this knowledge gap by: (a) applying the LCZ classifications into the cities in the PRD region by using WUDAPT method (See, Mills & Ching, 2015; Mills, et al., 2015) to develop an open-access database; (b) investigating the characteristics of outdoor thermal comfort of the different LCZ classes by using field measurement and ENVI-met model simulations; (c) integrating the findings of (a) and (b) to develop of thermal comfort threshold of selected LCZ classes for high-density subtropical urban areas; and (d), based on (c), establishing urban design guidelines of outdoor thermal comfort for different LCZ classes for planners in the PRD region . This project will contribute to the scholarly understanding of the outdoor thermal comfort conditions of LCZ classes. In practice, the developed dataset will provide planners in the PRD region with a quantitative understanding of the relationship between urban morphological characteristics, urban climate and urban thermal comfort based on a spatial information platform. The design guidelines will inform “The PRD Reform and Development Plan (2008-2020)” of the Chinese government. The findings will also be a useful reference for governments of other high-density cities in the sub-tropical regions.