Cooling Cities

Strategies and Technologies to Mitigate Urban Heat: Komali Yenneti, Mattheos Santamouris, Deo Prasad, Lan Ding July 2017


Australia’s cities generally are warming up faster than their surrounding rural areas. Average urban temperatures in the last two decades are possibly the highest in at least the past century (CSIRO, 2015). Even without global warming, cities already face a problem—the urban heat island (UHI) effect, whereby inner urban areas are hotter than the surrounding rural areas. Urban sprawl, intensive pavements and buildings themselves contribute to the UHI effect, firstly because they require sources of shade to be removed and secondly because they retain heat in their own right. The UHI intensity in Australian cities is quite significant; the current average maximum intensity varies from 1.0°C to 7.0°C, compared to 0.5°C to 3°C in the early 1990s, and this may be just the beginning of the UHI intensification problem. Urban heat is already taking a toll on human health. Between 1993 and 2014, extreme heat caused more deaths in Australia than floods, cyclones, lighting, wildfires and earthquakes combined. This cost will grow as urban temperatures rise.

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Level 23, 45 Clarence Street

Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

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