Human Biological Adaptation The Thermal Coping Range

The most immediate of the cocooning layers are the bio-technological constructs as illustrated in Fig. 11.3. For the present purposes, those items that are boxed constitute minimal cost measures that are sustainable or contained within comfortable "coping ranges" (Burton et al. 1978). The aggregates in Fig. 11.3 show an evaluation of the temperature equivalents of comfort coping ranges for acclimated and healthy individuals below and above neutral temperatures: cool range14-23°C, warm range 12-17°C.

The comfortable coping range as defined above is merely the tip of thermoreg-ulatory response. Excluded from the comfort ranges, are the major emergency but exhaustible processes of sweating, active metabolic increases in shivering, and deliberately increased work rates (above the light sedentary category of <100 Wm2 as assumed in comfort studies). Excluded also are active energy inputs into heating or cooling, deliberate relocation to less stressful locations, interposing

"private /

climate" /

"private /

climate" /

Shivering Thermogenesis

Shivering thermogenesis sweating

Shivering thermogenesis sweating

Scool range CRcl ± CRV ± CRA ± CRpc ± CRpa = 14-23 °C Swarm range CR v ± CRa ± CRpc ± CRpa = 12-17 °C

Fig. 11.3 Biotechnological Thermoregulatory Adaptation Comfortable Coping Rages (CR) (excluding sweating, shivering and active energy input)

temporary reflective material barriers, wearing specialized clothing. Such emergency measures have enabled humans to occupy and survive in all climate zones, and may do so again, but at this stage in development, are inconvenient to the modern urban dweller.

Here, for the moment we might reflect upon a highly deterministic theme that could be loosely labeled "urban metabolism". Thermoregulatory responses, and solutions to their demands, may be deeply, but not always obviously embedded in the fabric of urban infrastructure and cultural practices. Amongst these we might note that, depending upon the climate and sophistication in technology, 15-30% of national power consumption goes directly into air heating and cooling. Thus, at least a goodly proportion of power generation, transport and transmission of energy can be regarded as dedicated to the maintenance of homeothermy. The same and more can be claimed for house function, electricity grids, building materials, heating and cooling machinery, appliance shops and such unnoticed everyday phenomena of all-weather proof transport, and the construction of increasingly large buildings (cocoons) that ensure thermal comfort conditions irrespective of inclemency of weather beyond. Beside the hardware and obvious physical infrastructures are the vast thermal behavioural networks that may be represented by mundane everyday activities as in Table 11.2: hot and cold food provision, increased or decreased shopping frequencies, weather forecasts, determining temperature standards, organizing of weather related trips, timing of holidays, lingering in pleasantly shady or sheltered nooks... The use of the term "urban metabolism" in itself is indicative of the all pervasive role of homeostasis and thermoregulation in the lives of all human beings.

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