Penrith City Council will explore how to tackle Sydney’s urban heat dilemma by bringing key stakeholders and leading professionals together in a Masterclass event in 2020.
Penrith Mayor, Ross Fowler, that the Cooling the City Masterclass was developed in response to concerns from councilors and the community on the impact of urban heat on the area’s future liveability.
“To come up with the best solutions to reduce urban heat, you need to bring great minds together,” Fowler said adding that the event is suitable for planners, developers, builders, architects, urban designers and others working within the built environment.
“Together we will explore initiatives to create cooler urban spaces, present the business case for greener development and explore innovative heat reduction strategies that can be applied to not only Western Sydney, but across any major metropolitan city.”
The event will be held at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre on February 18, 2020.
“We know it’s hot in Penrith during summer and only set to get hotter,” he said.
“We have developed a Masterclass program that delivers international perspectives and allows built environment professionals to hear from national experts, as well as see leading case studies and research in action.”
Perth-based Environmental Scientist, Dr Josh Byrne, who also presents the ABC’s Gardening Australia TV program, will deliver the keynote.
Byrne said the urban heat program requires collaboration and creativity to ensure private and public spaces are designed appropriately.
“Perth has some great examples of urban development where an integrated approach to energy, water and landscaping is being tested,” he said.
“There are some great learnings coming from these projects and I see Penrith Council’s Masterclass as a terrific opportunity to share these, and to discuss how these ideas can be applied locally.
“The challenges of increasing urban heat and extreme heat events is something that we need to be planning for now.”
Dr Byrne will join other high profile speakers at the event, including representatives from Greater Sydney Commission, Resilient Sydney, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Western Sydney University, the University of New South Wales, University of Utah, Frasers Property Australia and the CSIRO.
Earlier this month Penrith City Council and Western Sydney University (WSU) installed 120 heat sensors to collect new Penrith heat data throughout this summer.
The data will be used by Council to scientifically inform and influence decision making for the City to tackle rising urban heat.
According to WSU, temperatures across urban landscapes can vary wildly, sometimes by more than 10 degrees.
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch, who is leading the study for Council, said that tree canopies and reflective surfaces can help reduce the temperatures at ground level by as much as two degrees on a sweltering day.
Planting trees is obviously important, and a core part of Council’s existing work, but it is only part of the solution to the complex problem of urban heat.
“We know from research we have already done in Parramatta, Cumberland and Campbelltown last summer, that tracking the microclimates of specific suburbs reveals they are exposed to far more extreme heat than the Bureau of Meteorology recorded,” Dr Pfautsch said.