Pedestrian Wind Factor Estimation in Complex Urban Environments

Sarah Mokhtar (MIT)*; Matthew Beveridge (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Yumeng Cao (MIT); Iddo Drori (MIT)


Urban planners and policy makers face the challenge of creating livable and enjoyable cities for larger populations in much denser urban conditions. While the urban microclimate holds a key role in defining the quality of urban spaces today and in the future, the integration of wind microclimate assessment in early urban design and planning processes remains a challenge due to the complexity and high computational expense of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. This work develops a data-driven workflow for real-time pedestrian wind comfort estimation in complex urban environments which may enable designers, policy makers and city residents to make informed decisions about mobility, health, and energy choices. We use a conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN) architecture to reduce the computational computation while maintaining high confidence levels and interpretability, adequate representation of urban complexity, and suitability for pedestrian comfort estimation. We demonstrate high quality wind field approximations while reducing computation time from days to seconds.