Simulation Study of Thermal Effects of Vegetation Covered Sand dune mounds within the Landscape around Urban Structures in the UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Urbanization is one of the many factors that have caused numerous environmental concerns around the world. Such issues that are the root subject of concern is Urban Heat Island effect, a condition that describes the overheating of cities. Dubai is just one of many cities that have had a rapid growth in development, leading to the condition of urban heat island. This research topic aims to study the effects of vegetation in the shape of sand dune formations to help reduce effects of urban heat island in Dubai, as well as, link back to the cities original typography. Computer simulation was chosen as the major methodology in this research and ENVI-met software was applied as the main simulation tool. The investigations in this research were performed by testing the vegetation dune-like mounds on a selected site against three different base cases to compare the overall effect of surface temperatures around urban areas in Dubai. The results of the research showed that application of trees in a natural and diverse arrangement while still having a mix of different vegetation types around the urban areas is the most effective strategy in tackling excess heat in urban areas. Also, increase in edge compactness and shape complexity of vegetation can decrease surface temperatures and progress the exchanges between vegetation and built-up areas. On the other hand, it was concluded that grass has the least effects on reducing surface temperatures in the urban areas. When designing, the landscape should try to mesh with the existing surroundings, linking back to the area's historic characteristics for additional visual benefits. Based on the results, it is recommended to apply high trees with wide canopies to create best shading and reduction in temperatures. Other suggestions can be guided towards including trees and shrubs along roads, pedestrian paths, and even within parking lots. As a general rule it is suggested to aspire to diminishing the hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt, as much as possible.
thermal effects, sand dune, vegetation, urban structures, United Arab Emirates (UAE), urbanization, urban heat island effect