The Playground Shade Index: A New Design Metric for Measuring Shade and Seasonal Ultraviolet Protection Characteristics of Parks and Playgrounds

Nathan Downs, Nawin Raj, Jennifer Vanos, Alfio V. Parisi, Harry Butler, Ravinesh Deo, Damien Igoe, Benjamin Dexter, Melanie Beckman-Downs, Joanna Turner, Stijn Dekeyser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current shading strategies used to protect outdoor playgrounds from harmful solar radiation include the placement of artificial cloth weaves or permanent roofing over a playground site, planting trees in proximity to playground equipment, and using vegetation or surface texture variations to cool playground surfaces. How and where an artificial shade structure is placed or a tree is planted to maximize the shade protection over specific playground areas, requires careful assessment of local seasonal sun exposure patterns. The Playground Shade Index (PSI) is introduced here as a design metric to enable shade and solar ultraviolet exposure patterns to be derived in an outdoor space using conventional aerial views of suburban park maps. The implementation of the PSI is demonstrated by incorporating a machine learning design tool to classify the position of trees from an aerial image, thus enabling the mapping of seasonal shade and ultraviolet exposure patterns within an existing 7180 m2 parkland. This is achieved by modeling the relative position of the sun with respect to nearby buildings, shade structures, and the identified evergreen and deciduous tree species surrounding an outdoor playground.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhotochemistry and photobiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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