Climate is the primary factor that allows the use of public spaces. In particular, microclimate describes the conditions that human beings continuously experience through their senses. Microclimate most drastically affects conditions in cities, the places where society, economy and environment converge and where walkability, comfort and health are the most substantial indicators for the quality of the public realm. Particularly citizens are exposed to the consequences of discomfort in urban spaces, resulting in a high amount of challenges for the city dwellers and having severe impacts on the everyday life and well-being of hundreds of millions of people around the globe, with different impacts from place to place. In high-density cities, pedestrians experience highly variable microclimatic conditions within short distances of the daily walk and are frequently exposed to extreme conditions.
Urban environments, in fact, generate sequences of microclimates that elicit thermal experiences for the pedestrians that are vastly more complex than they would be under constant microclimatic exposures. Because of its material diversity and complex morphology, urban space is characterized by varied microclimates across very small spatial and temporal scales.
In the context of a severe unprecedented climate crisis with far-reaching effects on millions of people around the world, we use the threshold defined by the Paris Agreement of keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, using the 2 meters’ measure, corresponding to the layer “of air within two meters of the ground, the noosphere, that is arguably the most important of all in Earth’s atmosphere. It is located in what meteorologists have come to call the anthroposphere, nestled in the “boundary layer,” a turbulent, well-mixed zone at the very base of the sublunar realm. This is a space in which the “natural” atmosphere gets entangled with human energy. “This is the anthropocentric layer [… ] it is the interdisciplinary sphere of human affairs, the most influential layer of our planet’s atmosphere.” (Fleming and Jankovic, 2011)