Effect of urban morphology on wind flow distribution in dense urban areas

Environmental flow modelling can be achieved either by using wind-tunnel
studies or via the utilization of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques.
Conducting wind-tunnel studies may be expensive and time consuming, particularly in the
event of additional test requirements with modified building and/or environmental
configurations. On the other hand, CFD can provide significant cost benefits for
assessing and optimizing engineering design solutions related to environmental concerns
and appear attractive as a potential alternative tool. By using CFD in this manner it is
anticipated that these types of advanced performance-based studies will be a useful tool
and essential aid for urban designers and environmental planners. This paper discusses
ongoing development and application of CFD simulations through a case study using
CFD software for simulating air flow around a specific vernacular urban fabric of
Ghardaïa. The potential of CFD for prediction of wind speeds around a complicated
urban environment and a complex fabric structures is investigated. As the 3D solid model
of the geometry was not available a captured Google Earth image of the fabric structure
was used as a backdrop in the AC3D software, supplied as a utility to Phoenics. The
outlines of the buildings were then traced to create polygons, which were then extruded to
produce the individual buildings. Finally, the entire scene was exported to the VR-Editor
as a single Phoenics object.

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