CEM223-Urban Microclimates

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Zhiwen Luo

Email: z.luo@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The module introduces the basic physics as well as the up-to-date advances on urban microclimates including urban fluid mechanics, energy balance, solar radiation, acoustic etc, and evaluates how the urban surroundings interact with buildings. It will also address the application of urban microclimate principles to guide and assess urban climate planning.


The aim is to develop comprehensive knowledge of urban microclimates and the impact of built form and texture on urban climate and building performance. We cover the fundamental physics behind urban microclimates and explore urban climate simulation tools to assist urban climate planning. We develop in-depth understanding of how:

  • Urban microclimates are formed and operate;

  • Climate change impacts on urban climates;

  • Urban heat island phenomena operates and its impact on building energy consumption;

  • Urban texture and form impacts on microclimates;

  • Sustainable urban design has evolved and operated;

  • Urban ventilation should be designed and encouraged;

  • Urban form and buildings interact with each other.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Interpret the physics behind urban microclimates

  • Understand the interaction between urban microclimates and buildings

  • Outline the mitigation strategies to improve urban microclimate

  • Evaluate the parametric analysis of the built form and textures of built environment

  • Synthesise and evaluate the design of urban forms and conduct comparison studies

  • Evaluate and assess outdoor thermal comfort

  • Demonstrate skills in numeracy and the use of simulation tools

Additional outcomes:
Students will be able to assess urban microclimate using a newly developed simulation tool (UMEP) embedded in QGIS.

Outline content:

  • Urban climate: an overview

  • Urban wind environment design

  • Urban energy balance

  • Urban heat island and building energy

  • Urban solar and daylighting

  • Outdoor thermal comfort

  • Urban green infrastructure

  • Urban wind engineering

  • Urban microclimate workshop

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Theories are taught in lectures, which are reinforced formative practical assignments and field observations. Tutorials and private guided studies are also included.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Practicals classes and workshops 10
Guided independent study: 60
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:
Assignment: 2500-3000 words essayPresentation: 10 mins presentation followed by 5 mins questions

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Students are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

  2. Specialist equipment or materials:

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

  4. Printing and binding:

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification:

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 28 April 2020


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