Natural ventilation in living and working places provides both circulation of clear air and a decrease of indoor temperature, especially during hot summer days. In addition to openings, the dimension ratio and position of buildings play a significant role to obtain a uniform indoor air velocity distribution. In this study, the potential use of natural ventilation as a passive cooling system in new building designs in Kayseri, a midsize city in Turkey, was investigated. First, indoor air velocity distributions with respect to changing wind direction and magnitude were simulated by the FLUENT package program, which employs finite element methods. Then, an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference systems (ANFIS) model was employed to predict indoor average and maximum air velocities using the simulated data by FLUENT. The simulation results suggest that natural ventilation can be used to provide a thermally comfortable indoor environment during the summer season in the study area. Also, the ANFIS model can be proposed for estimation of indoor air velocity values in such studies. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.