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Nature-Based Solutions: Thermal Comfort Improvement and Psychological Wellbeing, a Case Study in Genoa, Italy

Francesca Mosca, Giulia Maria Dotti Sani, Andrea Giachetta and Katia Perini
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Francesca Mosca: Dipartimento Architettura e Design, Università degli Studi di Genova, 16123 Genoa, Italy
Giulia Maria Dotti Sani: Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20122 Milan, Italy
Andrea Giachetta: Dipartimento Architettura e Design, Università degli Studi di Genova, 16123 Genoa, Italy
Katia Perini: Dipartimento Architettura e Design, Università degli Studi di Genova, 16123 Genoa, Italy

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 21, 1-0

Abstract: The urban heat island (UHI) effect is among the most critical issues caused by human activities and high building density. UHI has severe impacts on the urban and natural environment as well as on human health and wellbeing. The research presented here aims at evaluating the effects of nature-based solutions (NBS) in improving the livability of a district in the city of Genoa, which is heavily cemented and a major example of the heat island phenomenon. This study focuses on the microclimatic benefits of urban heat island mitigation as well as on psychological and perceptual aspects. A preliminary analysis of the district through CFD simulations using Envi-met software allowed for selection of the most suitable areas for a system of punctual interventions in urban regeneration using nature-based solutions. For each area identified, we simulated the effects of different design scenarios on microclimate mitigation and thermal comfort improvement. In addition, to evaluate the perceptual benefits of the most well-performing design scenarios, we set up a web-based survey that was administered to a convenience sample of Genoa residents. In terms of aesthetic satisfaction and perception of improved conditions of physical and psychological well-being, the preferred design outcomes were those which emphasized a freer and more natural environment. This study shows that nature-based solutions can improve the overall conditions of dense urban areas; microclimate performance and psychological effects should be both considered in the design process in order to improve the wellbeing of urban citizens.

Keywords: nature-based solutions; urban heat island (UHI); human wellbeing; thermal comfort; urban regeneration; citizens’ perception (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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