Critical Evaluation of Psychological Adaptation as a Factor for Determining Thermal Comfort in Public Outdoor Spaces in Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
High degrees of competition and globalization in fact made it imperative for nations to adopt systematic methods at the various stages of developmental planning in order to create or improve the designs for the benefit of the people, society, region, economy and environment. It is seen that comfortable outdoor spaces play a part in improving the quality of life particularly in urban areas. As thermal comfort form a decisive factor in influencing the utility value of spaces, evaluations on the user preferences and associated aspects would be beneficial in rightly categorizing and designing outdoor spaces. So the current research study was conducted for the purpose of exploring the role of psychological adaptation in estimating thermal comfort levels and for analyzing the various factors that influence thermal comfort in public outdoor spaces in Dubai. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used for this research. Various physical parameters like temperature, humidity and air velocity were measured from the selected eight outdoor (six Parks and two Walkways) locations in Dubai in addition to the subjective measurements made for understanding the perceptions, expectations, psychological adaptations and behavioural adaptations of the people. Based on the research study it was found that in addition to psychological adaptation, physical parameters like temperature, humidity and wind speed, vegetation in the area and adaptive behaviors also seem to play a dominant role in deciding the thermal comfort of individuals in public outdoor places in Dubai. It was noticed that there are no specific values of temperature, humidity, wind speed, etc, under which the individuals are comfortable at all times and the comfort preferences vary within a range of values. Major recommendations for bettering the public outdoor spaces include, develop optimum levels of vegetation based on demand and to design spaces so as to provide thermal comfort across seasons. This study provided better insights and knowledge on the real time facts that have relevance at practical and academic realms and would be useful in rightly transforming outdoor spaces as well as for increasing the value of the region.
psychological adaptation, thermal comfort, outdoor spaces, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), globalization