State of the Art in Computational Modeling of the Urban Habitat

Duncan Phillips
Principal
RWDI, Toronto

CFD vs. wind tunnel: this subject causes people to line up on both sides of the debate and argue vehemently for and against. In 2017, the City of London awarded two planning awards to a project comparing CFD vs. wind tunnel in the urban realm. That study addressed how each can fail and what features of good vs. poor practice leads to poor results.

This presentation started from this point and provided some evidence as to which approach (CFD vs. wind tunnel) is more appropriate for different design decisions and why. Through the course of the presentation, a discussion on the different analyses that can be conducted included supplementary calculations that can lead to better design decisions. Wind comfort and safety, energy demand, day lighting, thermal comfort, glare, and other parameters were discussed. Examples were shown, and a demonstration of how both CFD and wind tunnel can either fail or excel through the use of poor climate data, poor application, or poor interpretation. Participants were in a position to understand why and how either of the two approaches can work and when to steer clear of one or the other or perhaps when both are complementary.