Courtyards are an omnipresent feature within the urban environment. Residents often use courtyards as recreation areas, which makes them crucial for the physical and psychological comfort of the urban population. However, considering that courtyards represent enclosed cavities, they are often poorly ventilated spaces and pollutants from neighboring traffic, once entrained, can pose a serious threat to human health. Here, we studied the effects of lateral openings on courtyard pollution and ventilation. Therefore, we performed a set of large-eddy simulations for idealized urban environments with different courtyard configurations. While pollutant concentration and ventilation are barely modified by lateral openings for wide courtyards, lateral openings have a significant effect on the mean concentration, the number of high-concentration events and the ventilation within narrower and deeper courtyards. The impacts of lateral openings on air quality within courtyards strongly depend on their orientation with respect to the flow direction, as well as on the upstream flow conditions and upstream building configuration. We show that lateral openings, in most cases, have a negative impact on air quality; nevertheless, we also present configurations where lateral openings positively impact the air quality within courtyards. These outcomes may certainly contribute to improve future urban planning in terms of health protection.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited