New Planning and Design Methodology to address Invisible Factors

A new planning and design methodology is proposed to improve air pollution dispersion for better design performance of open space in Beijing. By engaging with atmospheric conditions, configuring building compositions and manipulating landscape components, people’s exposure to air pollution can be significantly reduced in the open space.

The extreme pollution levels experienced in Beijing have significantly influenced on people’s daily life. Relevant environmental laws and regulations take years to have impacts, while long term exposure to air pollution can cause serious diseases. It is now imperative to consider this in city developments. Wind direction and wind speed are proven to be significant contributors in impacting air pollution dispersion, transmission and diffusion. Therefore, these factors should be considered in city planning and design process to improve open space performance, which will considerably reduce people’s exposure to air pollutants and improve outdoor activity quality.

The proposed methodology includes prevailing wind speed and direction as influential factors in conventional site planning and design process. Through configuring building height and layout with consideration of its influence on surrounding wind distribution, air pollution dispersion will be encouraged and various micro-climatic conditions will be generated in different areas for further design and programming of the open space for reduced exposure to pollution.

By introducing a Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) testing phase to the conventional planning and design process, it can identify the best positive building configuration to encourage air pollution dispersion and to generate associated open space with optimised wind distribution for further site design and programming. Site topography will be also manipulated to redirect wind to ensure a better open space at human scale. Pollutants tolerant vegetation will be introduced to absorb and filter air pollutants. Windy and polluted areas then will be designed for car parking, while calm and clean areas will become seasonal activity centers.