Performance standard for tropical outdoors: a critique of current impasse and a proposal for way forward

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E-pub ahead of print


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Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Climate
Early online date11 Jan 2017
StateE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2017


Climate change will bring more heat extremes to the already warm tropical areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The resulting surge in cooling demand will only make the thermal discomfort in tropical cities even worse. This paper presents evidence to the approaching air conditioned cooling load deluge and shows why the air conditioned management of cooling load is particularly problematic in the tropics. It then presents the technical, institutional and cultural challenges to passive climate-sensitive design in the tropics and posits three ideas as part of the way forward: reformulation of thermal pleasure in the tropics, linking the ‘in’ and the ‘out’ at neighbourhood scale and provision of adaptive opportunities varied by activity patterns. Research approaches to advance these ideas are also discussed.


  • tropical urban climate, urban design, thermal comfort, cooling load, urban heat islands