Heat stress at preschool yards. A mixed-method geographical study in Gothenburg, Sweden.
As climate change is predicted to generate higher temperature and more frequent heat waves and extreme temperature events in Sweden, issues related to heat will be more accentuated in the future. Children are both vulnerable to heat and spend much of their time outdoors at preschool yards. This thesis has a broad approach to the issue of heat stress at preschool yards, where modelling of Tmrt as well as interviews with preschool teachers and planners has been conducted in order to explore how heat is affecting preschool yards in Gothenburg. Previous research has shown that shading and vegetation are key factors in lowering Tmrt, and that the urban environment has a great impact in regulating thermal conditions in urban environment. Furthermore, most studies conducted on heat and school environment has been focusing on harmful UV-radiation mitigation or indoor thermal environments. The study has been modelling Tmrt, shading and Sky view factor on 438 preschool yards in SOLWEIG and conducted interviews with 9 preschool teachers and 2 municipal actors involved with planning and preschool yards. The study results indicate that even though heat stress is present at preschool yards in Gothenburg, the issue of heat is mainly seen as an inconvenience rather than a problem and are thus underprioritized to measures of UV-radiation or other problems present at preschools and preschool yards. The study also conclude that shading is the most important factor for keeping low temperature at preschool yards, and that the most important factor of shading is found from trees. Trees and vegetation are also found to hold other desirable factors for preschool yards apart from heat mitigation.