- The inclusion of urban ventilation for performance-based planning.
- Relationships between urban ventilation and urban topology at different urban scales were summarized.
- A framework for precinct ventilation performance was developed.
- We defined the protocol for precinct ventilation zone based on building height, street structure and compactness.
- 20 precinct ventilation zones were classified in the context of Greater Sydney of Australia.
Along with ongoing urban development, cities are experiencing significantly different climates compared with surrounding rural or suburban areas. Among various causes, the traditional modification towards urban surface structures has been evidenced as an explanation for the variations of urban climate. This affirms the significances of urban morphology in urban climate study and management. However, urban morphology that focuses on the homogeneity of urban form is always very intricated, so that it is essential to clearly describe and differentiate the interactions between urban morphology and climatic conditions. Focusing on guiding ventilation performance-based planning, therefore, this paper aims at characterizing urban surface structures for the systematic studies of local ventilation performance. In specific, based on the pluridisciplinary method, this paper developed the protocol for the precinct ventilation characterization. The precinct ventilation zone system was derived according to ‘compactness + building height + street structure’, based on which 20 distinctive types of precinct ventilation zones in the Greater Sydney, Australia were presented. The classification system in this paper can provide wind-related researchers, engineers, designers and planners with intuitive understandings of the ventilation performance, thereby further assisting decision makers to formulate sound planning regulations with the inclusion of urban ventilation.