CIVIL-309 / 3 crédits


Langue: Anglais

Remark: Pas donné en 2023-24


This course introduces the analysis of urban areas from a thermodynamics perspective, considering the heat exchange between different urban elements (buildings, vegetation, water surfaces, ground, and environment). Urban heat island effect and outdoor comfort topics are also discussed.


  • Urban physical processes at different scales, and their analysis
  • Characteristics of the urban environment and urban micro-meteorology
  • Environment-buildings-vegetation-ground-water surfaces thermal interaction
  • Spatial distribution and dynamics of airflow, temperature, and humidity in cities
  • Role of materials and urban design in thermal heat exchange
  • Effect of urban elements on urban climate, outdoor comfort


Urban heat exchange, urban atmosphere/boundary layer, urban elements interaction, environmental impact, built environment, urban green areas and water bodies, urban heat island (UHI) effect, outdoor thermal comfort

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses

  • General physics: thermodynamics PHYS-106

Recommended courses

  • Fluid mechanics (for GC) CIVIL-210
  • Fundamentals of indoor climate CIVIL-221

Important concepts to start the course

Heat transfer modes (convection, conduction, radiation)

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Assess / Evaluate heat distribution in urban zones
  • Critique the choice of urban materials and design and propose alternative solutions
  • Analyze various modes of heat transfer in urban environment
  • Carry out thermodynamic analysis at urban scale
  • Examine the effect of the outdoor built environment on human comfort
  • Assess / Evaluate surface energy balance at various urban surfaces

Transversal skills

  • Assess one's own level of skill acquisition, and plan their on-going learning goals.
  • Demonstrate the capacity for critical thinking
  • Access and evaluate appropriate sources of information.

Teaching methods

Ex cathedra and exercises in class

Expected student activities

Participate in lectures and exercise sessions

Assessment methods

Three written tests: 30%+45%+25%


Office hours No
Assistants Yes
Forum No


Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)



  • T.R. Oke, G.Mills, A. Christensen, J.A. Vooght, Urban Climates, Cambridge University Press
  • S. Medved, Building Physics: Heat, Ventilation, Moisture, Light, Sound, Fire, and Urban Microclimate, Springer
  • A. Rodrigues, R.A. Sardinha, G. Pita, Fundamental Principles of Environmental Physics, Springer
  • N. Mason, P. Hughes, Introduction to Environmental Physics: Planet Earth, Life and Climate, Taylor & Francis

Ressources en bibliothèque

Moodle Link

Prerequisite for

  • Building energetics ENG-445
  • Thermodynamics of comfort in buildings CIVIL-450



NB: ce cours ne sera pas dispensé en 2023-2024

Dans les plans d'études

  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Pendant le semestre (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Urban Thermodynamics
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Exercices: 1 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Type: obligatoire

Semaine de référence

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