This paper presents research carried out in the city of Chillán, a medium size city located on the southern limit of the Chilean Mediterranean domain, at 36°36′s south latitude. Chillán provides a good representative example of warm summers in central and southern Chilean cities. Five public spaces were selected, representing different typologies and relating to different urban background conditions. Users in these public spaces were observed, counted and photographed five times a day (12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 h, local time) during a heat wave event in the summer of 2016, while meteorological parameters were measured at different points within the public space. The variables evaluated were impervious surfaces, sky view factor, H/W, azimuth, shadow, and radiation. Local public environmental management should pay attention to the complex relations between urban climate, public spaces and thermal comfort since they affect the quality of life of the most vulnerable sectors of the population. This is particularly important given the increasing episodes of elevated temperatures and intense heat waves which have occurred in the city of Chillán in recent summers, which are related to urban heat islands and climate change.
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