As the urbanization process continues, cities become the specific physical context of the most important
challenges of humanity: environmental threats, social justice, and economic development. In that context,
public spaces play a fundamental role in addressing these challenges as the democratic arena where social
interactions take place. Since early history, public spaces have been centres for the exchange of ideas,
diversity, and everyday experiences. Today, public spaces are considered key in order to enhance social
cohesion and improve quality of life within cities. Therefore, on this era or growing urbanization, the study
of public spaces acquires special importance.
Among other factors, the way people use public spaces is highly influenced by their environmental conditions.
Therefore, the study of urban microclimates becomes particularly significant in order to design successful
public spaces that promote social activities. Light, wind, temperature, acoustic comfort, pollution, etc. are
factors that should be considered when designing a public space.
“Proposing a broader view of the environment, the human body and health are once again
The continuous urbanization process has changed not only the environmental properties of our surroundings,
but also our relationship and interactions with it. As the sensorial characteristics of urban environments
change (temperature, light, humidity, sound, odours, textures, pollution, wind speed...), people adapt their
behaviour outdoors to it. In addition, the perception of the surrounding space depends on physiological,
psychological, and socio-cultural conditions. As Charlie Moore stated, “we do not live in a generic body, but
in bodies that differ widely in their perceptual culture and capacities.” Moreover, its dynamic condition, as
it changes during the day and the year, makes it more complex to predict and study. These characteristics
imply that urban spaces should be designed for a variety of people and situations, where diversity should be
studied as a fundamental characteristic of these spaces.
1- Mirko Zardini, Sense of the City, (Canadian Centre for Architecture and Lars Müller Publishers, 2005).
2- Kent C. Bloomer and Charles Moore, Body, Memory, and Architecture (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977).