Effects of building layouts and envelope features on wind flow and pollutant exposure in height-asymmetric street canyons

Dongjin Cui, Xingdi Li, Jianlin Liu, Lei Yuan, Cheuk Ming Mak, Yue Fan, Kenny Kwok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The influences of building layouts on pollutant dispersion within urban street canyons have been widely studied, although they have been rarely considered with envelope features. Different envelope features, such as wing walls, balconies and overhangs, have not yet been quantitatively assessed for their effects on the wind flow patterns around street canyons to a certain degree. Adopting the evaluation indicators of personal intake fraction and daily pollutant exposure, this study aims to investigate the potential influences of building layouts and envelope features that affect pollutant exposure risks for pedestrians and near-road residents via computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The turbulence modelling approach and numerical methods are validated by reported experiments in the literature. Asymmetric street canyons with an aspect ratio of 2 and two typical building layouts, namely, step-up and step-down notch configurations, are further investigated to test their effects. The results indicate that the step-down configuration provides worse situations for wind environments and pollutant dispersion than symmetric and step-up configurations. More specifically, the presence of overhangs has the greatest impact on the personal intake fraction (P_IF) change ratio, followed by balconies. The largest P_IF change ratio occurs on the fifth floor of an upstream building when overhangs are applied to the step-down street canyon. The aforementioned findings are helpful to understand the influences of building layouts together with envelope features on the wind environment as well as pollutant exposure risks experienced by pedestrians and near-road residents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108177
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Building layouts
  • CFD simulation
  • Envelope features
  • Pedestrian-level wind (PLW)
  • Pollutant exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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