Learning Lab

Climate Responsive Master Planning: Harnessing the Microclimate Around Buildings

Climate Responsive Master Planning: Harnessing the Microclimate Around Buildings

Host Info

Contact a Specialist

Gonçalo Pedro
Innovation and Technology Lead - CFD | Associate
+1.647.475.1048 x3212
Go to Gonçalo Pedro's page


Time Commitment:
60 min
Learning Credits:
Not applicable


In this course, strategies and processes to design and harness the microclimate around buildings are explored. The objective of harnessing the microclimate is to maximize the perception of acceptable thermal comfort experienced by pedestrians and residents and to increase the viability of natural ventilation within the building units. During this presentation we explore the tools and means to score “success” for both natural ventilation and thermal comfort. Other microclimate features such as rain penetration, solar impacts such as glare, noise and odor will also be addressed. 

By definition, the construction of a building creates a microclimate that is associated with the presence of the building itself. In the development of a masterplan, the combination of buildings can create a larger microclimate which impacts the local wind, solar and other climate parameters. Given that the process of design involves a series of decisions, a design team can choose to design the microclimate too. This course will examine microclimate manipulation, focusing on overall comfort for masterplans in a variety of regions. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Articulate the different options by which one describes and quantifies wind and thermal comfort.
  2. Define the methods, and their limitations, to model and predict thermal comfort parameters within the urban environment.
  3. Identify means to improve thermal comfort within the public realm using different massing, building adjacencies and topologies, etc. to manipulate wind and shade.
  4. Diagnose project examples from around the world using real case studies from different climates shown in this course.

Course Videos

Affiliated Associations

  • AIA
  • GBCI