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Int J Biometeorol. 2016 Aug;60(8):1151-64. doi: 10.1007/s00484-015-1109-4. Epub 2015 Dec 1.

Human thermal comfort conditions and urban planning in hot-humid climates-The case of Cuba.

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Department of Architecture, University of Camagüey, Camagüey, Cuba.
Architecture Technical School of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Avinguda Diagonal, 649-651, 649-651, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Architecture, Architecture Technical School of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Architecture, University of Camagüey, Camagüey, Cuba.
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
Research Center Human Biometeorology, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany.


Climate regional characteristics, urban environmental conditions, and outdoors thermal comfort requirements of residents are important for urban planning. Basic studies of urban microclimate can provide information and useful resources to predict and improve thermal conditions in hot-humid climatic regions. The paper analyzes the thermal bioclimate and its influence as urban design factor in Cuba, using Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET). Simulations of wind speed variations and shade conditions were performed to quantify changes in thermal bioclimate due to possible modifications in urban morphology. Climate data from Havana, Camagüey, and Santiago of Cuba for the period 2001 to 2012 were used to calculate PET with the RayMan model. The results show that changes in meteorological parameters influence the urban microclimate, and consequently modify the thermal conditions in outdoors spaces. Shade is the predominant strategy to improve urban microclimate with more significant benefits in terms of PET higher than 30 °C. For climatic regions such as the analyzed ones, human thermal comfort can be improved by a wind speed modification for thresholds of PET above 30 °C, and by a wind speed decreases in conditions below 26 °C. The improvement of human thermal conditions is crucial for urban sustainability. On this regards, our study is a contribution for urban designers, due to the possibility of taking advantage of results for improving microclimatic conditions based on urban forms. The results may enable urban planners to create spaces that people prefer to visit, and also are usable in the reconfiguration of cities.


Cuba; Hot-humid climate; Human thermal conditions; Physiologically equivalent temperature (PET); RayMan; Urban thermal bioclimate

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