Penrith City Council to host masterclass on urban heat crisis

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Urban heat represented by hot and steaming public square.

Penrith City Council seeks to explore solutions to Sydney’s urban heat problem in a masterclass set to run in early 2020.

The Cooling the City masterclass has been established in response to concerns surrounding community resilience to urban heat and the part it will play in defining liveability into the future.

“We know it’s hot in Penrith during summer and only set to get hotter. 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,” says Penrith Mayor, Ross Fowler OAM.

Although it may take a local focus, the masterclass is being touted as a ‘must attend’ event for anyone in a leadership or planning position 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,” says Fowler.

Urban heat performance indicators across Sydney show how urban heat islands – microclimates that develop in urban areas as a result of human activity – are impacting the greater region. The Western City District is impacted most by urban heat, with research showing 46 percent of residents are exposed to high urban heat. That’s almost twice the rate of exposure experienced by any other district.

Perth-based Environmental scientist and presenter for ABC’s Gardening Australia, Dr Josh Byrne, will be the keynote speaker for the event.

“Perth has some great examples of urban development where an integrated approach to energy, water and landscaping is being tested. 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,” says Byrne.

“The challenges of increasing urban heat and extreme heat events is something that we need to be planning for now. The approach requires collaboration and creativity to ensure private and public spaces are designed appropriately.”

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Sean Kahn (sustainability advisor, Frasers Property Australia)
  • Dr Andy Marks (assistant vice-chancellor, Western Sydney University)
  • Dr Diane Pataki (associate vice president for research, professor of biological sciences, University of Utah)
  • Rod Simpson (environment commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission)
  • Beck Dawson (chief resilience officer, Resilient Sydney)
  • Dr Sebastian Pfautsch (senior research fellow, Western Sydney University)
  • Simon Toze (Liveable, Sustainable and Resilient Cities, CSIRO)
  • NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

The masterclass will be held on February 18, 2020 at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.

To book your tickets now, click here.

 

Image: Jonas Weckschmied via Unsplash.com

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