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In the desert Southwest, shade is one of the most important urban design features to lower Mean Radiant Temperature (MRT) and increase outdoor thermal comfort on hot sunny days. The impact of shade on people is localized (dependent on the shadow), site-specific, and context-dependent (impacted by surrounding urban form). It varies diurnally and seasonally by shade type (engineered vs. natural), orientation, and ground surface cover.
This project will develop a web-based simulation tool that generates shade performance curves for arbitrary shade types, locations, dates, and times of day. This tool will translate empirical findings into usable science by making comprehensive shade assessments accessible at no costs to City staff, developers, and the general public in Tempe, the Southwest, and across the nation. The hands- on, web-based decision-making tool will allow users to assess the thermal comfort impacts of customized, site-specific shade interventions for active shade management.


City of Tempe



Healthy Urban Environments


July 2021 — Ongoing