Symposium focuses on hot cities

Adelaide heat map

Adelaide heat map

Adelaide – and cities around the world – are facing similar challenges: higher population density, reduced open spaces, rising urban heat, increasing need for cooling to combat the heat, and urban pollution.

The Heat and Habitat in Cities Symposium (H2CS), on 9 and 10 December, is hosted by the University of Adelaide at the National Wine Centre.

“With warming climates and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, designing cities in the face of these challenges correctly has become even more critical,” says Professor Alan Peters, Head of the University of Adelaide’s School of Architecture and Built Environment.

On 24 January 2019 the official Adelaide weather observation station (West Terrace) reached a new record high temperature of 46.6°C (115.9°F), breaking the previous 1939 record.

Bureau of Meteorology data shows that, compared to 190 years ago, the average annual number of days with temperatures above 35 degrees in Adelaide is increasing while the number of days with temperatures below 5 degrees is decreasing significantly.

“Our environment is indeed getting warmer, even during winter periods,” says Professor Peters.

“Cities need to be better managed and new developments need to be better planned and designed to be more resilient to future changes.”

The University of Adelaide’s Professor Veronica Soebarto from the School of Architecture and Built Environment is the symposium chair.

“H2CS brings international and national experts, policy makers, planners, designers and researchers to exchange knowledge, experience and expertise and to discuss concrete ideas for planning, designing, developing and improving our cities,” says Professor Soebarto.

One of the topics to be discussed is climate resilient housing: ways to have a liveable environment during weather extremes without costing the occupants too much and further impacting the environment.

“Residents can use external shadings for windows and walls with eaves and/or trees to reduce solar heat during summer which still allow the sun to penetrate during winter,” says Professor Soebarto.

“Having at least one space in the home – a ‘cool refuge’ – that can be naturally cooled down during extreme heat, using earth cooling with operable windows, and minimising the use of heat-generating appliances during extreme heat conditions, are all strategies that can be implemented by residents.”

Other topics at the symposium include how Adelaide’s green infrastructure cools the city, technology that mitigates regional and global overheating, successful tree planting programs, how urban greenery moderates urban microclimates, and how to empower people to improve their homes to resist higher temperatures.

Findings from H2CS will be provided to governments and be made available to other relevant organisations.

Tagged in heat, Adelaide, temperature, climate change