Landcom is excited to release a new report on the urban heat island effect titled 'Cooling Common Spaces in Densifying Urban Environments' that offers ways to address the very serious issue of rising heat levels in urban environments. 

Landcom director of Sustainability and Learning Lauren Kajewski, said that  Landcom partnered with the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University (WSU) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on this report to offer new ways to cultivate cool outdoor common space or 'commons', and enhance liveability in warming cities. 

"The research identifies patterns for outdoor common spaces to combat the urban heat island effect which is a particularly acute problem for Western Sydney, where temperatures are expecteed to peak at 50 degrees celsius in built eenvironments by mid-century."

"The report identifies ways in which the pre-planning of developments can embed mor eeffective design approaches - or 'Cooling the Commons patterns' - to help reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect. 

"Integrating such patterns into a site or precinct design can have a marked effect on the liveability of a community.

"By ensuring larger tree canopies, temporary use of public space to maximise sun shade, better public accessibility of ater such as taps and drinking fountains, and a greater focus on night-time uses of public space when the teemperature is naturally cooler, engagement with commons can be amplified," Kajewski says.

Associate professor in Design Studies at UTS, Abby Mellick Lopes, who led the project in her previous role as a school-based researcher at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, says that the 'cooling patterns' identified in the report reflect both urban design and people's social activities. 

"The concept of common spaces or 'commons' means that they are access, enjoyed and card for by the community, which makes them a central part of where and how we live," Associate Professor Lopes says. 

Importantly, the research found many aspects of community life are being compromised by the retreat into private  air-conditioned environemnts, which is rapidly becoming a design and social norm.

The Report calls for greater consideration of the connection between social practices and natural built environments, and shows how thoughtful design at all  stages of the developemeent process can cool public outdoor space and improve community experience. 

Kajewski says that the practical solutions identified in the report support the environmental and social resilience of our projects to the changing of the nature of cities, people and communities. 

"Landcom is very proud to lead the way  in looking at how we cAn improve the social and environmental sustainability of built environments and we are already implementing some of these patterns within our projects at Macarthur Heights and Schofields.

"Upcoming projects are opportunities to test more patterns and to continue researching the urban heat island effect to improve the resilience and liveability of our communities, says  Kajewski.