Pedestrian wind comfort

Wind flow in an urban environment is heavily influenced by the layout, shape, size and configuration of buildings. At times, the presence of buildings can lead to increased wind speeds which could be dangerous for pedestrians. This has raised the necessity to conduct a wind comfort assessment in the early planning stages of the urban environment.

The main aim is to help policymakers towards making informed decisions to ensure a safe urban environment where the wind does not pose any threat to pedestrians. This effort also aims at advancing the knowledge frontier of urban wind simulation techniques.

The main approaches for the assessment of wind behaviour in the past have included full-scale testing and wind tunnel testing. The rapid development of computational resources in the past decades has enabled the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a tool to carry out pedestrian wind comfort studies. It provides a faster and less expensive alternative which can often also provide more information about the wind flow compared to the more conservative methods. Therefore, CFD has been selected as the method of choice to achieve the objectives of this task.

Computational pedestrian wind comfort studies are carried out in various urban areas in Sofia city as well as a part of the evaluation of different urban designs produced within parametric urban planning use cases. The results offer detailed information about the wind behaviour and are used for developing the City Digital Twin pilot project at GATE.