The Role of Green Infrastructure in Enhancing Microclimate Conditions: A Case Study of a Low-Rise Neighborhood in Abu Dhabi

  • Mahmoud A. M. Abu Ali

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Urban heat islands are characterized by the increased temperature within the urban context compared with the rural surroundings due to man-made intervention that include replacing the natural vegetation with buildings and roads. This study focuses on the utilization of using local, sensitive landscaping types and design strategies for the aim of microclimate enhancement in neighborhoods streets and public realm in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This research takes on a design-based approach to propose landscaping types and layouts in low-rise residential urban areas. Its objective is to fill some gaps in the literature, namely analyzing and comparing locally available tree species and the different distances between them in a low-rise residential neighborhood. In this study, two approaches are presented, including an on-site measurement and a numerical simulation model that uses ENVI-met software. Four scenarios were carried out in the ENVI-met; 1- 'No vegetation', 2- 'Grass only', 3- 'Existing conditions' and 4- 'proposed landscape design'. The study area in Abu Dhabi's al Zaafarana neighborhood consisted of 4 sites. Grass and 3 types of local trees were used in the proposed scenario including Ghaf, Poinciana and temple tree. In addition, 6m and 8m spacing between each tree was applied (as per the city standard) to determine the effect of varying vegetation densities on the outdoor temperature. Given the urban context and morphological setting, Poinciana trees with 6m spacing located on pathways and in open unshaded areas with the existence of alleys, improved the overall thermal conditions in the neighborhood by reaching a maximum temperature decrease of 0.9 °C.
    Date of AwardMar 2020
    Original languageAmerican English


    • Urban Heat Island
    • ENVI-met
    • Hot-arid Climate
    • Landscaping Strategy.

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