Urban microclimatic phenomena such as the urban heat island effect and urban wind nuisance are detrimental to outdoor space quality. Since the urban heat island effect will become more severe with climate change, it becomes ever more urgent to provide passive urban microclimate control measures. One way to come up with new measures for microclimate control is through studying precedents from the past. This is based on the belief that historical landscapes evolved from centuries of knowledge about dealing with climatic conditions.
By means of a historical literature review, this thesis demonstrated that tree lanes, vertically shaped trees (“leilindes”), berceaux, hedges, shelterbelts, green walls, umbrella trees (“etagelindes”) and weeping trees were in certain cases purposefully planted for microclimate control. Then, through a scientific literature review, the microclimatic performance of tree lanes, green walls, hedges and shelterbelts is identified. Subsequently, the software ENVI-met is used to gain novel insights into the microclimatic effects of vertically shaped trees, berceaux, umbrella trees and weeping trees. The results indicated that all historical landscape elements have potential to enhance thermal comfort. Eventually, during an iterative research through design process, new prototypes of the historical landscape elements are designed and evaluated to improve thermal comfort of contemporary Dutch shopping streets. The prototypes that most effectively reduced both heat and cold stress were virtually implemented in two real shopping streets. The results demonstrated which historical landscape elements are most able to improve thermal comfort of contemporary urban streets and how these have to be adjusted to this context. These prototypes broaden the scope of much wanted passive microclimate control measures.