Integrating Climate Sensitive Design Principles in Municipal Processes : A Case Study of Edmonton’s Winter Patios
Abstract: This paper explores winter patios in Edmonton through the lens of place and climate sensitive design, then reflects upon the existing regulations that influence the design and management of winter patios in Edmonton. The City of Edmonton provides this research opportunity because it is currently pursuing the creation of a four-season patio culture in the city, and has created a strong WinterCity agenda. The introduction explores Edmonton’s local climate and its winter city strategy. This is followed by an explanation of the study’s methodology. The purpose of this thesis is to study how climate sensitive design principles can be applied to create places that attract winter activity. The research questions ask how climate sensitive design principles are currently incorporated in patios, what barriers exist to creating these spaces, and how to overcome these barriers in municipal processes. Many cities in cold climates seek ways to create vibrant, active cities through all seasons, and this study explores how climate sensitive planning principles can help create environments that invite winter activity. To answer the research question, a qualitative methodology was used to examine the case study of Edmonton winter patios using Eliasson’s (2007) concept of place and microclimate. The study identifies design weaknesses in Edmonton patios with little provision of shelter from wind, snow and rain, as well as limited consideration of snow storage and removal. Interviews and document review identify lack of interest and a lack of attention to the physical component of place as barriers to the creation of winter patios. Finally, the use of analytical tools such as urban climatic maps are suggested, as well as the introduction of microclimate standards so information about weather and microclimate can influence how physical components of place are planned and evaluated.
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