In cities and urban areas there are many ‘hotspots’ caused mainly by changes to the land, including clearing vegetation, building development and roads. These ‘hotspots’, known as ‘Urban Heat Islands’ are significantly warmer than surrounding areas.
The increased frequency and intensity of heat waves expected as a result of climate change can have serious health and wellbeing implications for vulnerable members of the community. The ability to identify and map urban heat islands provides planners with essential information about where to prioritise cooling efforts.
‘Mitigation of the urban heat island effect can be achieved by increasing and extending city green areas, open spaces and parklands,’ explains Environmental Sustainability Manager, City of Marion, Ann Gibbons.
The Resilient South Project, a collaboration between Holdfast Bay, Marion, Mitcham and Onkaparinga councils in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, is adopting a mapping approach to identify heat islands as a way of informing future planning decisions.
The heat mapping project is part of the larger award-winning Resilient South Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plan launched in 2014.
‘What’s important about this mapping is that we end up with a clear picture of the temperature hotspots and existing greenspaces compared with where we know are the higher concentrations of vulnerable members of our community, such as child care centres and aged care facilities,’ said Ann.
‘The hope is that the work we do here can be used to inform decision makers in other South Australian regions about the urban heat island effect and how they can go about mapping hot spots and prioritising mitigation activities in low-medium density environments.’