A comprehensive review of thermal comfort studies in urban open spaces

Dayi Lai, Zhiwei Lian, Weiwei Liu, Chaoran Guo, Wei Liu, Kuixing Liu, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


Urban open spaces provide various benefits to large populations in cities. Since thermally comfortable urban open spaces improve the quality of urban living, an increasing number of studies have been conducted to extend the existing knowledge of outdoor thermal comfort. This paper comprehensively reviews current outdoor thermal comfort studies, including benchmarks, data collection methods, and models of outdoor thermal comfort. Because outdoor thermal comfort is a complex issue influenced by various factors, a conceptual framework is proposed which includes physical, physiological and psychological factors as direct influences; and behavioral, personal, social, cultural factors, as well as thermal history, site, and alliesthesia, as indirect influences. These direct and indirect factors are further decomposed and reviewed, and the interactions among various factors are discussed. This review provides researchers with a systematic and comprehensive understanding of outdoor thermal comfort, and can also guide designers and planners in creating thermally comfortable urban open spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140092
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2020


  • Adaptation
  • Human behavior
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Urban heat island
  • Urban open space
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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