Australia’s first official guide to cooling cities will be launched today at the inaugural Cooling Cities National Forum in Sydney.

Prepared by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL), the Guide to Urban Cooling Strategies will help town planners, regulatory agencies, architects and developers mitigate urban heat islands and microclimates created by cities.

The guide covers a range of climate zones – consisting of dense inner-, middle-ring and outer suburbs – that are ubiquitous across Australia’s cities. UNSW’s Dr Paul Osmond, who led the research and industry team that compiled the research, says the guide demonstrates a particular focus ondesign intervention, including streetscapes, plazas, squares and malls”.

“The importance of design [that] embraces vegetation cover (particularly tree canopy), the use of shade to minimise heat, and the orientation of these elements are also key to cooling,” he says. “Interventions may be active, such as misting systems and awnings, or passive, like street trees, green roofs, water bodies, cool roofs and façades.

“The guide also highlights the fact that street trees contribute to radiant and air temperature reduction by evapotranspiration and shading over buildings and street surfaces.”  

Three dimensions – urban form, climate type and the nature of intervention – act as the guide’s framework in terms of process (methods) and product (design outcomes).

"Improving liveability, health and wellbeing are critical challenges for our cities, especially in light of our rapidly changing climate,” says Brett Pollard, principal at industry project partner, HASSELL.

“This guide will provide built environment professionals with evidence-based design strategies that can be directly applied to projects, no matter what scale, and ultimately help keep our cities cool.”