Feel like summer and autumn this year were hotter than usual? You’re not wrong, with global temperatures officially reaching the highest on record and Australia bearing the brunt with record-breaking temperatures since spring.

Dr Deo Prasad writes, “Sydney and its suburbs were particularly affected with reports that February had a record 31 straight days above 26 degrees celsius, shattering its previous record of 19 days in 2014. What is noticeably lacking on Australian weather news are the differences in urban temperatures according to suburb, due to distance from the coast, buildings, green space and ultimately urban planning – basically the urban microclimate.

“As new urban developments are on many city council planners’ and developers’ desks or currently being built – the Sydney skyline is dotted with cranes – research into fully understanding our urban microclimates where buildings, street layouts and greenery affect temperature could not be more important. Our urban environments need to be adapted and new urban design must cater for this rising heat, lest we fry.”

Failing to be mindful of urban design and appropriate building materials to cope with increasing temperatures means councils will no doubt experience future problems for residents, with costly adaptive changes required down the track.

Recent research from the University of South Australia on the correlations between heat sensitive outdoor activities and urban greenery revealed that, “Necessary and optional activities start to decline once temperatures reached 28 to 32 degrees celsius, while activities in public spaces with more urban greenery showed higher resilience to heat stress.”

Dr Prasad writes, “Such results indicate that heat resilience is a quality indicator for public space and supports the use of greenery in making urban settings more resilient to heat stress.  You may think this is quite obvious, but the uptake of the use of greenery in urban design has been reportedly resisted by some town planners and urban designers. This resistance can be due to cost, politics and other influences, but it definitely needs to change. As our climate gets hotter, we need to use our natural vegetation to help provide relief to the population and keep temperatures down.”

For more information on urban forest solutions, click here.

Source: https://sourceable.net/design-for-heat-or-fry-understanding-urban-microclimates-to-ensure-the-best-development/