Using Google Street View photographs to assess outdoor thermal discomfort and heat perception due to heatwaves in the urban environment

We have just published a preprint of a new study together with colleagues from the Department of remote sensing. The preprint reports the results of three studies conducted on residents of Czech cities of Brno and České Budějovice (N = 1,877) in which we explored heat perception in cities during summer heatwaves. Using street view photographs of almost 3,000 specific places in the two cities, we found that ordinary people can very well predict the heat and heat discomfort that they would experience in each of the places. Surprisingly, people were able to predict heat stress and discomfort even for places they had not visited using a simple heuristic whereby they took into account the presence of place features that typically affect thermal comfort. Among these features, the presence of green infrastructure (e.g., trees, bush, and shrubs) and blue infrastructure (e.g., ponds and streams) were the most important factors that reduced perceived heat-related stress. Correspondingly, we also found that these features affect which places people generally prefer and which they prefer when choosing a walking route, or a place to wait for somebody.

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