Thoughtful design of the public realm can create thermally comfortable, attractive and more sustainable urban environments by enhancing positive natural and man-made features through architecture, planning and landscape design. This project links closely to the completed "Cities as Water Supply Catchments: Green cities and microclimate" (Project B3.1), which explored how green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design at the household- to neighbourhood-scale can modify the urban microclimate.
This project is designed to examine the processes linking urban climate, water sensitive urban design (WSUD), green infrastructure and health from street- to city-scales. The project aims to address how water sensitive cities and their communities can benefit from green infrastructure and climate sensitive design. It will also determine the effectiveness of different heat mitigation strategies on climate and hydrology of selected Australian cities.
The project outcomes include a better understanding how WSUD and green infrastructure can positively affect the microclimate of our cities and the health of their communities. Building on the findings of Project B3.1, a key outcome of this project is the evaluation of various urban design scenarios at the street- to city-scale to assess the impacts on urban climate and develop informed design scenarios. This will support urban planners and designers in the development and implementation of strategies that mitigate excess urban heat.
Microclimate modelling at the street-scale is currently lacking in the scientific community and the project will provide appropriate tools to address the aspects of small-scale design to derive optimal strategies for the implementation of WSUD. The base of knowledge and data developed in Project B3.1 will be used in validating urban climate models in this project. Researchers have already produced documentation of the heat-health thresholds for Australian capital cities and the spatial variability in heat vulnerability throughout cities. Ongoing research is being conducted into the effect on heat-health outcomes of reducing air temperature by employing WSUD and urban greening.