Influence of urban planning regulations on the microclimate in a hot dry climate: The example of Damascus, Syria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Urban planning regulations influence not only the urban form; they also have a great impact on the microclimate in urban areas. This paper deals with the relationship between the urban planning regulations and microclimate in the hot dry city of Damascus. The main purpose is to highlight the shortcomings of the existing urban planning regulations. The microclimatic parameters necessary for the thermal comfort assessment of pedestrians were determined through simulations with the software ENVI-met. It is shown that the street design-as regards aspect ratio, orientation and the presence of trees-has a great influence on ground surface temperatures and thermal comfort. Moreover, the type of buildings-whether detached or attached (street canyons)-has an impact. For deep canyons there is an interactive relationship between aspect ratio, orientation and vegetation. However, for streets with detached buildings, there is only a weak influence of street orientation and aspect ratio but a strong influence of vegetation on surface temperatures and outdoor thermal comfort. The study shows the importance of modifying the planning regulations in Damascus for new areas by allowing smaller setbacks, narrower streets, higher buildings, etc.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Architecture


  • Aspect ratio, Damascus, Hot dry climate, Microclimate, Planning, regulations, Street design, Thermal comfort, Vegetation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-65
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch