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  • Documentation

    City of London: Mesh and Geometry Guidelines

    While simulating a Pedestrian Wind Comfort (PWC) analysis, mesh resolution is of prime importance. There are certain requirements that need to be taken care of while performing CFD simulations to get high-quality and reliable results that resolve the flow features accurately. These requirements ensure that the modeling approaches do not vary drastically, and stay within defined parameters.

    Similarly, when it comes to simulating a building or a region within London to assess the wind comfort, there are certain meshing guidelines that should be followed. These guidelines are standard and are referred to as the City of London Guidelines.


    SimScale uses Pacefish®\(^2\) solver to assess wind comfort in a PWC analysis. The mesh generated is a cartesian mesh, where cells are formed as cubes.

    The City of London Guidelines are discussed below:

    • The 3D CAD model should be resolved for building features larger than 0.5 \(m\) near pedestrian areas to account for the localized wind conditions.
    • Critical locations like entrances, corners, or regions of specific interest must have cell size no greater than 0.3 \(m\).
    • A minimum of 10 cells should be included between buildings and across street canyons. However, cell sizes beyond the region of interest can be larger to avoid high-density meshes.
    • Features that are part of landscapes should be ignored if they don’t exceed 8 \(m\) in height. Large trees or hills might be included under careful consideration of their impacts since limited published guidance exists for the modeling of such landscape features.


    To comply with the City of London guidelines, CAD models used should include all buildings that are within 400 \(m\) from the centre of the proposed site.
    Taller buildings outside of this region need to be included if they fall upstream of the wind direction and can impact the flow patterns.

    Figures 1 and 2 show the cartesian mesh generated, around ‘The Shard, London’ in SimScale complying with the City of London guidelines. CAD geometry credits to Accucities \(^3\).

    top view of the lbm mesh around the shard in london city shown via the simscale platform
    Figure 1: Top view of the cartesian mesh around The Shard, London generated in SimScale in compliance with the City of London guidelines.
    side view of lbm mesh for the shard in london city simscale platform
    Figure 2: Side view of the cartesian mesh plane for The Shard, London as per the guidelines. The mesh resolution becomes finer as one approaches the building features.

    The Ideal SimScale Setup

    In order to have the most efficient setup complying with the guidelines, it is advised to use the following settings:

    • Radius of the region of interest: 385 \(m\)
    • Mesh Fineness: “very fine”
    • These settings will lead to a minimum mesh size of 0.5 \(m\).
    • In the critical areas an additional region refinement with a manual sizing at a target size of 0.3 \(m\) can be placed (leading to a local cell size of 0.25 \(m\))

    More details on how to access the mesh and control its settings in PWC analysis can be found here.

    Wind Comfort and Safety Criteria

    Wind Comfort Criteria

    City Lawson Criteria ( called “London LDDC Comfort” in SimScale), which is a modified version of the Lawson LDDC criteria, is accepted as a comfort criteria. The criteria is summarized in the following table:

    CategoryMean and GEM wind
    speed (5% exceedance)
    Frequent Sitting2.5Acceptable for frequent outdoor
    sitting use, e.g. restaurant, café.
    Occasional Sitting4Acceptable for occasional outdoor seating, e.g.
    general public outdoor spaces, balconies and
    terraces intended for occasional use, etc.
    Standing6Acceptable for entrances, bus stops, covered
    walkways or passageways beneath buildings.
    Walking8Acceptable for external pavements, walkways.
    Uncomfortable>8Not comfortable for regular pedestrian access.
    Table 1: London LDDC Comfort Criteria

    The table above can be explained with the following example: If the mean and GEM wind speed over 8 \(m/s\) achieves 5% exceedance, then it is categorized as Uncomfortable. Here, GEM stands for Gust Equivalent Mean. This value is obtained by dividing the peak gust wind speed by 1.85.

    Understanding seasonal difference with CoL guidelines

    If understanding the seasonal difference is of interest then one should run a wind study with 36 wind directions. That’s when the seasonal differences start to be seen clearly. This is because the seasonal wind data differences also get smoothened via the merging of wind directions, such that the difference in the wind rose for each season is much less on 8 or 16 than on 36 directions. Read more on our Forum.

    Wind Safety Criteria

    The safety criteria has a single rule: If the Mean and GEM wind speed from any wind direction is greater than or equal to 15 \(m/s\) and it achieves 0.022% exceedance, then consider it as Dangerous.

    Last updated: March 28th, 2023