Assessment of impact of land cover changes on urban bioclimate: the case of Colombo, Sri Lanka

R. Emmanuel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we correlate the land cover changes in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo with bioclimate trends in the region during the last 30 years. Land cover is measured in terms of “hard” cover (buildings, paved areas and roads) and “soft” cover (trees, green areas and waterbodies). Generally, the relationship between land cover and thermal comfort is stronger at night than at day. An increasing trend in thermal discomfort at night is seen, especially at the suburban station and it correlates well with hard land cover changes. The rural station witnesses the weakest correlation between land cover and thermal comfort. The study also brings out the relative importance of land cover in the city center vs. rural areas (e.g.: hard cover has more effect on thermal discomfort in the city center than in rural areas). Based on these findings, we postulate an outline for a climate-sensitive urban design policy for tropical cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalArchitectural Science Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Influence of land cover
  • Thermal comfort
  • Tropical cities
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture


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