Joao Matos Da Silva | PhD

Supervisors: Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan, Dr Joana Goncalves

Green Infrastructure in Urban Environments: The environmental performance of schools’ open spaces in São Paulo as a case study for tropical megacities

The insertion or withdraw of nature into the urban design of dense urban settlements can culminate in multidisciplinary repercussions. The impacts are usually complex and multiple and require to be analysed, considering more than one criterion.

Accordingly, this doctoral research will be a multicriteria evaluation, so it can be feasible and still provide a meaningful contribution to knowledge. The focus will be on the impacts of green infrastructures in urban environments, having public schools in the city of São Paulo in Brazil as case studies. To achieve a proper understanding of the mentioned impacts, three main subjects will be studied: comfort, wellbeing and health. Even though there are diverse parameters related to each topic just mentioned, this research will focus on specific performance indicators, aiming to quantify and evaluate green infrastructure effect. The investigation on comfort will be developed using the performance indicator of thermal perception through microclimatic conditions. To measure health, the performance indicator will be air quality, quantifying pollutants concentration. Regarding wellbeing, the performance indicator will be the psychological effects on users, trough qualitative work. The doctoral research will follow an overall approach reflecting on applied research (with a pragmatic focus), followed by qualitative studies according to social sciences and quantitative analysis.

Quantitative studies will be built from an evidence-based approach to design research (not from a statistical point of view). The work will aim to explore to what extent can green infrastructure within the dense urban context of tropical megacities improve the microclimate, concerning typology, configuration, layout and areas of vegetation. The final intention will be to propose guidelines which will investigate different typologies, arrangements, and amounts of vegetation in the context of their integration within the urban environment. The proposed generic guidelines will have the potential to be replicated into various contexts with similar climatic conditions and urban characteristics.