Exploring Ultraviolet B Radiation in the Landscape




Cox, Victoria S.K.

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University of Guelph


Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun is the chief cause of skin cancer and is also involved in the development of Vitamin D in humans. This poses an interesting challenge, especially for people living in locations at mid to high latitudes. Through an integrative research review and controlled testing the amount of UVB humans receive in the landscape has been explored. Two existing computer models along with personal dosimeter badges were used to evaluate how much UVB students at a school in Waterloo, Ontario received under various conditions in February, 2013. Results showed that it is possible to get the equivalent of 1000 I.U. of vitamin D in February in Waterloo under ideal weather conditions, but not in most conditions. With this information, a guide has been created to optimize UVB for outdoor spaces in all seasons that children may use in northern climates. The design guide includes a summary of the geophysical variables that affect how much UVB reaches the earth’s surface and key concepts to understand including the difference between diffuse and direct radiation. This study provides evidence-based research in the area of climate responsive landscape architecture.



UVB, vitamin D, landscape, climate responsive design