Environmental Engineering Reference
ty and use of renewable resources. Some studies, arising from apparently
distant disciplines, such as sociology , have demonstrated the link
between quality of life and well-being, studying citizens' way of life in the
principal European capitals in relation to various parameters, among them
the use of urban open spaces and the environmental qualities present. Also
interesting is the theme of sustainability: the gradual substitution of nonre-
newable resources with renewable ones takes on essential value for the pro-
tection of our living environment and for air quality.
In the contemporary city, however, open space is very often represented
by a polluted urban “void,” similar to a “non-place,” according to the def-
inition by Mark Augè , which defines the connective fabric of the city
and the cohesive element of the urban landscape.
18.104.22.168 Advances in the Disciplinary Debate
A characteristic that allows an open space to reach the definition of “place”
is the quality of the space. The space becomes a place in virtue of perceived
well-being, in virtue of appropriately researched and designed environmen-
tal comfort. The way in which we recognize and experience the space
ensures that we attribute to it a particular significance that transforms it
into a place with air quality , where atmospheric pollution has been
reduced to a minimum.
The level of quality of life is orienting itself toward ever higher stan-
dards, and it thus requires the extremely careful and precise definition of
microclimate and air quality requirements capable of guaranteeing ther-
mal/moisture comfort (globally and locally) in the spaces where people
live and work, and which are necessarily related to energy savings and
Since the place is designed around and characterized by values of tem-
perature, pressure, and relative humidity, it is necessary to consider it as a
thermodynamic system to design it correctly.
Starting from these definitions, the design of a place can be considered
as the “thermodynamic mediation” between the body and the space (envi-
ronment), between movement and quiet, between meteorology and physiol-
ogy . This oscillation between indefinite space and the concrete place of
habits is the stage on which an architectural and urban planning project that
wants to reach a quality-of-life objective should move.
The human organism, just like the urban organism, through human and
urban metabolism phenomena respectively, produces thermal energy that
disperses in the environment through different heat transfer mechanisms. In