On a hot day, our city is bare. People walking the streets are few and far between. Shops are closed, curtains are drawn and people are retreating indoors to the relief of their air conditioning. Yes, everyone knows that when in Darwin, there is heat. Yet, the extremes in temperatures across our city is driving people away – both tourists and residents alike. Yet there are steps that can be taken to help cool Darwin, and bring our streets back to life.
One of Australia’s top architects, Alec Tzannes, recently awarded with the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, states that
“The future sustainability of Australia economically, socially and environmentally depends largely on how we design, manage and deliver our cities.”
Never before has this been as important as now for our great city. Darwin has the opportunity to make changes and lure tourists back to the area and retain its residents who may be fleeing for cooler pastures. Professor Mat Santamouris of UNSW and the NT Government has been studying heat in central Darwin for the past year. He has been using drones and weather stations on light poles in his studies and recommends the below steps that can be taken to reduce the heat in our city.
STEPS TO COOL A HOT DARWIN
Heat Reducing Canopies
The current works on Cavenagh Street are the first of hopefully many heat reducing canopies across the city centre. The canopy, which will fully cover the roadway in as little as 18 months, is equivalent to 24 trees and has the capacity to reduce temperatures by 2.7 degrees.
Water structures and fountains
The addition of water fountains across the city can help to reduce temperatures up to 50 metres away from the structure.
White roofs on new buildings
White roofs will reflect the sun’s heat and add to a cooler base temperature.
More green space
The addition of more green space including shady, canopy areas.
Implementation of cool pavement
There is currently a high amount of unshaded, black bitumen across the city. On hot days, temperatures up to 66 degrees have been recorded on ground level. Coating these black bitumen footpaths, surfaces and streets with a cool pavement, will help to reduce the temperature and encourage people to stay out and about within the city.
Underground car parks
Work is underway converting four existing above-ground carparks underground. The area will then be converted into new green space.
The heat reducing canopy along Cavenagh Street will be the first of many heat reducing steps our city can take. 2.7 degrees may not sound like much, but it is the difference between creating a liveable and desirable city.