Parks’ Thermal Comfort and User Perceptions of Comfort in “Most-Used” Parks of Izmir
Neighborhood parks can provide residents with an easy access to high level of cooling effect nearby their houses in cities such as Izmir with Mediterranean climate. The literature in general expects that those open spaces with higher thermal comfort attract more users. However, presence of thermal comfort at each park is not given. To provide and improve parks’ thermal comfort, parks’ location and spatial design with amenities and vegetation must be paid attention objectively and also according to user perception of thermal comfort.
Evolving in three park-rich districts of Izmir, this case study investigates how number of users and user perception of thermal comfort in parks relate to those parks’ physical characteristics. It has two stages: With t-tests, it analyses whether and how observed number of users in 95 parks and also demographic and behavioral characteristics in 42 parks in-use relate to these parks’ amenities and green landscape. Then, focusing on nine parks with relatively highest number of users, our analyses show that most of these parks lack thermal comfort shaped typically by urban geometry (i.e., building height, street orientation), kind of vegetation as shading elements and choices of materials. However, out of surveys with 2127 users in these parks, around a third of responses (usually women with children) complain and/or expect more about parks’ thermal comfort. We discuss the findings about objective and perceived thermal comfort level of parks in relation to park amenities and users’ gender and age related characteristics.