Objective:

To contribute groundbreaking research to the CRC for Low Carbon Living.

We are committed to understanding and helping to mitigate the impacts of heat on our urban precincts.

Affiliate logos now available.

Contributors to the Urban Microclimates Research Project are expected to badge their work with the official affiliate identities. Please note that these graphics are to be used as they are, permission is not given to alter their colour, composition, shape or proportions in any way.

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CAC_SUD Booklet now available.

The China Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development has produced a booklet outlining the recent meetings between academics from Australia and the People’s Republic of China investigating the impacts of immense urbanization in the Asia-Pacific region over the next 20 years. The China-Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development (CAC_SUD) is an international research centre exploring how Asia-Pacific cities can plan for and manage sustainable growth. Collaboration with governments, private-sector organizations and research institutions around the world enables CAC_SUD to develop innovative programs and policy recommendations of relevance to Australia, China and the Asia-Pacific region.

China-Australia Seed-funding campaign in cooperation with:

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Working with the CRC-LCL

Integrated within the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC-LCL) research framework as part of ‘Program 2: Low Carbon Precincts’, this project ‘RP2005: Urban Micro Climates’ is a study applying knowledge about urban micro climates in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide towards shared information supporting climate adaptive planning. The project will outline the characteristics of urban micro climates, and produce an effective way to monitor and record information about micro climates for use by planning agencies, service providers and developers.

More information about other CRC-LCL research initiatives are found here:
http://www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research

Our project work is found here:
http://www.lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-2-low-carbon-precincts/rp2005-urban-micro-climates

Program: Low Carbon Precincts

Infrastructure changes in the built environment, resulting from the expected 60 per cent growth in Australia’s population by 2050, will significantly influence and entrench the way we consume energy and our resulting carbon signature. The Low Carbon Precincts program therefore focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of our urban systems, with key consideration being given to integrating the interlinked aspects of energy, water, waste, transport and buildings – all of which have significant carbon signatures as well as human health impacts. The challenge is to reduce the carbon footprint of precinct infrastructure through the development of better tools and planning techniques that will make low carbon infrastructure valuable and desirable to the buyer. As a result, low carbon precincts will be transformed into highly desirable lifestyle options. Improved planning of precincts will allow carbon footprint to be reduced to zero in the longer term, at the same time as quality of life continues to grow.
The program will develop new knowledge and tools that enable the design of, and stimulate the market for, low carbon infrastructure at the precinct scale. This will facilitate property developers and local government partners providing low carbon infrastructure development as well as redevelopment and retrofitting at the planning point of delivery. An emphasis on research education and training in building information modelling (BIM), and extension to a new precinct scale (PIM) platform, will dramatically improve SME design productivity. Integrated tools will be developed for demand forecasting at the precinct level, covering energy, transport, waste and water. Design and assessment tools for precincts, focusing on low carbon performance, will be developed, applied and tested. Health and productivity co-benefits analysis will demonstrate the increased value and stimulate demand for low carbon precincts.

Program Low Carbon Precincts includes the following Activities:

  • Activity 1: Digital Information Platform
  • Activity 2: Precinct Planning and Design

See this along with the other contributing Programs and Activities on the CRC-LCL website:

http://lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-2-low-carbon-precincts


The proposed workflow structure for the Low Carbon Precincts program is indicated above. It includes six connected work packages, which also link to the other programs in the CRC and to the CSIRO EIF Solar Flagship.

Activity: Precinct Planning & Design

(Aggregating 3 activities in an impact tool) Automated multi-criteria (energy, carbon, water, cost) performance assessment tools will utilise the PIM platform for precinct design, including embedded carbon and alternative energy and water options, not currently addressed by available tools. This will include integration of distributed energy supply opportunities, active modes of transport and integrated water infrastructure.
Co-benefits, such as health and productivity (eg physical inactivity and obesity alone cost Australia ~$35billion/yr) will also be quantified in tools that capture enhancements to precinct amenity, sustainability and liveability. This activity will provide common eco-efficiency performance metrics for decision support to the design professions, government and community. Work will build upon tools developed by CRC-LCL participants and capture the expertise of world leading built environment planning specialists.

Outputs of this activity include launch of:

  • An automated software tool for integrated precinct planning & design prototype from Year 3,
  • A precinct-scale demand forecasting tool for distributed utility networks from Year 2, and
  • A health and productivity co-benefits calculator by Year 5.

Population and Urban Heat – a growing problem

As a result of dramatic worldwide urbanisation 50.5 per cent of the global population lived in cities in 2010; it is predicted that 70 per cent of people will be urban residents by 2050. 89 % of Australians lived in cities and 61 % of the Australians lived in a radiation of 75 km surround the five largest cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide). The socioeconomic advantages of urban living have attracted people to the cities. However, urbanisation has negative impacts that reduce significantly both the efficiency and liveability of cities. The urban heat island (UHI) is one of the adverse impacts caused by urbanisation and is the discernible temperature difference between urban and rural areas. This phenomenon is ascribed to the combination of inappropriate use of building and urban materials, urban morphology, the lack of vegetation, the extensive coverage of the stormwater sewage network, anthropogenic heat generation, altered wind patterns and increased air pollution in cities.

image: FLIR 7 thermal image (taken by Dr Conrad Philipp).

Urban Heat Research in Asia

Asian cities are the most rapidly growing regions of the world nowadays and 16 of the world’s 24 mega cities (cities with more than 10 million people) will be located in Asia by the year 2015. The rapid urban transition in Asia involving a large volume of population with increased energy consumption and dense urban infrastructure is reported to significantly affect the quality of life of urban inhabitants as well as to worsen urban environment and urban climate. Urbanization including residential, commercial and industrial developments initiates one of the most dramatic human-induced changes of a natural ecosystem: a natural landscape, often containing transpiring vegetation and a pervious surface, is converted to a built, largely impervious landscape made up of rigid, sharp-edged roughness elements. The Australian based CRC-LCL RP2005 project “urban micro climates” will bring researchers from Australia and Asia together and connect the urban heat studies between Australia and Asia and provide their activities for a brighter audience.

image: Jakarta Skyline at night. (credit Diary of A Hotel Addict, Creative Commons some adjustments have been made.)