Greener cities are cooler cities in summer: new guide reveals how

November 28, 2014, University of Melbourne
Green wall

Australian councils are being urged to take up new guidelines in green urban planning to create cooler cites with greener landscapes to reduce the risk of heat stress.

Australia is experiencing a trend of hotter temperatures and as a result is now a serious health problem for Australians who live in .

Research published in the Journal of Landscape and Urban Planning, led by the University of Melbourne suggest interventions to cool our urban hot spots using features like green facades.

Guideline author Dr Nick Williams from Resource Management and Geography said, "Our research has developed a framework for better urban green infrastructure that can reduce urban air and surface temperatures."

"During the day buildings and streets absorb solar radiation and release the heat at night keeping urban areas warmer than the surrounding countryside. But this can be tempered with a range of effective urban green designs. This includes greater use of trees, green roofs and facades, " said Dr Williams.

Using thermal images Dr Williams and his collaborators at Melbourne and Monash Universities studied the City of Port Phillip as a typical urban environment.

"The City of Geelong has adopted the framework and we are hoping other Australian councils and shires will follow suit as its now community health issue."

The research identified 'hot spots' and addresses factors like street geometry, soil and water availability, maintenance issues and community behaviour.

Explore further: Plants help lower temperatures

Related Stories

Plants help lower temperatures

February 19, 2013

(—As Melbourne swelters through another heat wave, scientists are using thermal imaging to work out how plants can be used to reduce the severe temperatures in our cities.

London heat boost underestimated

July 14, 2014

London's urban heat island effect, which keeps night-time temperatures in the capital warmer than in surrounding rural areas, may have been underestimated by up to 45 per cent.

Arnhem plants the world's first 'urban climate tree'

August 18, 2014

Arnhem has planted the world's first ever stadsklimaatboom ('urban climate tree') in the Sonsbeekkwartier. This district is experiencing serious heat problems, which are known as the 'urban heat island effect'. The tree will ...

Sydney's urban areas to be hit hardest by global warming

July 8, 2013

Green spaces, trees and bodies of water are must-have design features for future development in Sydney's suburbs after researchers found that by 2050 global warming combined with Sydney's urban heat island effect could increase ...

Recommended for you

Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

March 23, 2018

Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center ...

Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago

March 23, 2018

The timing of the Middle Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and the feedback mechanisms between climatic shifts and earth-surface processes are still poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that chronological ...

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

March 22, 2018

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

The tradeoffs inherent in earthquake early warning systems

March 22, 2018

A team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology has found that modern earthquake early warning (EEW) systems require those interpreting their messages to take into consideration ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.