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City breathability and its link to pollutant concentration distribution within urban-like geometries
KTH Research School University of Gävle, Department of Indoor Environment.
2010 (English)In: Atmospheric Environment, ISSN 1352-2310, Vol. 44, no 15, 1894-1903 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper is devoted to the study of pollutant concentration distribution within urban-like geometries. By applying efficiency concepts originally developed for indoor environments, the term ventilation is used as a measure of city "breathability". It can be applied to analyse pollutant removal within a city in operational contexts. This implies the evaluation of the bulk flow balance over the city and of the mean age of air. The influence of building packing density on flow and pollutant removal is, therefore, evaluated using those quantities. Idealized cities of regular cubical buildings were created with packing density ranging from 6.25% to 69% to represent configurations from urban sprawl to compact cities. The relative simplicity of these arrangements allowed us to apply the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) flow and dispersion simulations using the standard k-epsilon turbulence model. Results show that city breathability within the urban canopy layer is strongly dependent from the building packing density. At the lower packing densities, the city responds to the wind as an agglomeration of obstacles, at larger densities (from about 44%) the city itself responds as a single obstacle. With the exception of the lowest packing density, airflow enters the array through lateral sides and leaves throughout the street top and flow out downstream. The air entering through lateral sides increases with increasing packing density. At the street top of the windward side of compact building configurations, a large upward flow is observed. This vertical transport reduces over short distance to turn into a downward flow further downstream of the building array. These findings suggest a practical way of identifying city breathability. Even though the application of these results to real scenarios require further analyses the paper illustrates a practical framework to be adopted in the assessment of the optimum neighbourhood building layout to minimize pollution levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 44, no 15, 1894-1903 p.
Keyword [en]
City breathability, Mean age of air, Street canyons and building packing density, Steady-state CFD simulations, Urban air quality
National Category
Building Technologies
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101038DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.02.022ISI: 000277539700008ScopusID: 2-s2.0-77950958286OAI: diva2:547641

QC 20120828

Available from: 2012-08-28 Created: 2012-08-22 Last updated: 2013-07-19Bibliographically approved

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