Posts tagged ‘Urban heat island’

Addressing urban heat and burn risk in Playgrounds

High burn risk from playground materials with urban heat

“Unshaded synthetic turf is not a safe material to use in playgrounds in hot climates”, claim urban heat researchers based in Sydney in a new peer reviewed study.

Public playgrounds are important for our children to play and exercise. Increasing temperatures with climate change poses a health risk and, in particular, a burn risk to children due to surfaces heating up during hot weather, according to new research.

Researchers Sebastian Pfautsch, Agnieszka Wujeska-Klause, Judi Walters based in University of Western Sydney released the peer reviewed study: Outdoor playgrounds and climate change: Importance of surface materials and shade to extend play time and prevent burn injuries, published in the September 2022 issue of Building and Environment.

The research focussed on impact of urban heat on playground surfaces, and potential for burn injuries. Synthetic turf and other rubber/plastic surfaces were considered as part of this research. It has implications for urban heat of synthetic turf and other rubber and plastics surfaces and prevention of burn injuries, especially to children. This research should also help to inform Moreland Council investigation into Making Sports Playing surfaces sustainable.


September 2, 2022 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

In the depth of winter an urban heat campaign on Fake Grass launches for Victoria

With an overcast sky and temperatures barely in the double digits a small crowd gathered beside the synthetic grass pitch at Clifton Park in Brunswick. This was the launch of the Campaign to Turf out Fake Grass in Victoria.

Climate NGO Sweltering Cities, which focusses on urban heat and solutions to mitigating and adapting to increasing urban heat, had initiated this campaign as a result of several meetings with residents in suburban Melbourne and a large heat survey that was conducted over the summer.

Sign the petition to Turf out Fake Grass addressed to Victorian Minister for Suburban Development Shaun Leane.


June 5, 2022 at 3:08 pm Leave a comment

Moderating the urban heat of car parks in Moreland

CB Smith Reserve asphalt car park adding to urban heat

As a highly built up municipality Moreland tends feel the heat of Summer and extreme heat events exacerbated by the urban heat island effect. The extensive car parks and roads around our municipality contribute to this amplification of high temperature effects.

New research from University of Western Sydney throws new light on the urban heat island effect on microclimates and especially the role of asphalt car parks. Asphalt is particularly bad for building up heat inertia to warm the micro climate during both the day and night. But the researchers also outlined solutions.

How does this apply in Moreland? Well Moreland Council should be implementing heat mitigation solutions for all Council car parks, and also advocating for these solutions when Businesses provide parking, or the State Government expands parking, such as at Merlynston Station. Moreland Council is expanding parking at Hosken Reserve as part of the Hosken Reserve Masterplan, but have paid little attention to limiting urban heat from car parking. When putting in new car parking is the ideal time to implement urban heat solutions.


March 29, 2022 at 12:00 am 1 comment

Commuter car park upgrade at Merlynston

Upfield Bike Path, Ararat Avenue and Shorts Road. Adding carpark entry will increase
safety hazards for pedestrians and cyclists

On 6th September Climate Action Moreland submitted the following submission to the Level Crossing Removal Authority on the development upgrade proposal for the Commuter car park at Merlynston station . We know that many North Coburg Residents and other community groups also put in submissions. We have heard and had no further community engagement with LXRP.

Here is our submissions sent 6 September 2021.


December 7, 2021 at 1:30 pm 1 comment

How will Synthetic turf impact urban heat island and microclimate around Hosken Reserve?

2016-Alm-naturalgrass-vs-artificial-surface temps-HongKong

Synthetic turf surface temp heat profile compared to natural grass (Hong Kong) – Alm 2016

Adding a synthetic pitch to Hosken Reserve will increase the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), reduce the Cool Park effect, and be felt mostly strongly by local residents. Artificial turf elevated temperatures will affect playability and heat stress to players, and not only in Summer but also for warm days in both Spring and Autumn when the temperature is elevated. Our Melbourne summers are getting longer.

For the most part it is local residents that would need to live with this permanent impact on increased microclimate temperatures over summer months and during warmer days in Spring and Autumn. Urban Heat island effect is more prominent during the night than during the day. This will likely increase evening energy use from air conditioners of local residents which will have a feedback of putting more heat back into the local environment.

Our temperature research at Hosken Reserve natural grass oval and Clifton Park synthetic pitch shows on a warm day (around 30C as per BOM records) the surface temperatures on the synthetic pitch are regularly 80-90 percent greater than natural grass, and may on occasion reach double the temperature of grass.

Moreland’s heat vulnerability is already at a high level, synthetic turf will contribute more heat when we need to be trying to cool our suburbs through green infrastructure. Moreland Council needs to find cooling solutions not exacerbate the problem with converting a much loved community shared grass oval to a fenced synthetic pitch.

Climate Action Moreland has had an interest for several years in urban heat island effect and how it is magnified by the rising temperatures of climate change and urban densification and development.  This post draws upon past literature reviews and a recent science literature survey associated with artificial surfaces and the urban heat island effect that formed part of our submission on the Hosken Refresh consultation.

April 3, 2021 at 1:52 am 4 comments

Cooling the Upfield Corridor – Moreland Council adopts plan mitigating Urban heat

Cooling the Upfield Corridor UHIE heatmap

Moreland Council has adopted the Cooling the Upfield Corridor Action Plan 2018-2019.

It is not nearly enough to cut emissions and have a zero community emissions by 2040 target, we also need to look at climate adaptation in our highly built up urban environment. This too is part of a climate emergency response framework.

The urban heat island effect amplifies temperatures due to the urban built infrastructure and surfaces such as roads and carparks. Our Municipality is especially vulnerable to the urban heat island effect.

In coming decades Melbourne is likely to experience 50 degrees days according to researchers at the ANU, even if we limit global temperatures to 2 degrees or the much more ambituous 1.5 degrees target.

October 14, 2018 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Moreland Council receives grant for mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect

Moreland's social heat vulnerability

Moreland’s social heat vulnerability

Moreland Council has received $80,000 grant funding from the Victorian Government on a project to minimise the impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect on vulnerable social housing residents.

The urban heat island effect results when urban surfaces heat up much faster than rural land. With temperatures climbing due to climate change and more extreme heat events predicted, the urban heat island effect will magnify the heat health impacts on the population, especially more vulnerable people like the young, the old, outside workers and those with medical conditions.

The grant funding was part of $1.15 million to support Council driven projects across Victoria in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The funding will assist the Council’s Urban Heat Island Strategy that is presently in draft mode about to go to Council for consideration for formal adoption at Council’s June 2016 meeting.

May 19, 2016 at 2:34 pm Leave a comment

Consultation on Urban Heat Island effect Action Plan in Moreland

Moreland UHI Thermal imaging 14 January 2014 10am

Moreland UHI Thermal imaging 14 January 2014 10am

Moreland Council have been working on developing a policy on mitigating the urban heat island effect. This is when temperatures warm up much more in urban areas due to all the buildings and roads, than rural areas. Climate change is causing temperatures to rise, and also causing earlier and more intense heat waves to occurr. Climate change also amplifies the urban heat island effect.

Moderation of urban heat island effect temperatures by even a few degrees can reduce substantial health impacts and improve comfort for residents in extreme heat conditions. Every year hundreds of ambulance callouts are made for people suffering heat related medical conditions. More people die during extreme heat events than for any other disaster, including bushfires. A 2014 report found that Melbourne, of all Australia’s cities, had the highest annual average number of heat-related deaths, with about 200 a year, according to the Age.

Research has shown that Moreland has a high social vulnerability index to extreme heat already, based upon demographic and social factors.

Moreland Council is conducting a community consultation in regard to the draft Urban Heat Island effect action plan on Tuesday 22 March 2016, 6 pm – 8 pm at Coburg Town Hall foyer, 90 Bell Street, Coburg. You can Register your attendance and download and read the draft plan. The draft action plan was approved for community consultation at Council’s February 2016 meeting with the intention of formal presentation of the final draft in April 2016 followed by formal endorsement in June 2016.

March 20, 2016 at 9:56 pm 2 comments

Moreland increasing tree canopy to combat Urban Heat island Effect

Moreland Council at it’s September 2014 Council meeting adopted a report on increasing vegetation tree canopy and resolved “to support and fund current initiatives aligned with the management of climate change and the Urban Heat Island Effect.”

The Council report – DCI70/14 REVIEW OF TREE COVER IN MORELAND AND HEAT ISLAND EFFECT (D14/225415) (full text below) – was prepared for the Director of City Infrastructure as a result of a motion by Cr Davidson (full text below) at the July council meeting. It outlines that Council will plant 5,000 trees annually as part of the Moreland Street Landscape Strategy (see Street Trees on Council Website) with the biggest tree suited to an area to be planted to increase canopy coverage. The goal is to plant 30,000 trees across the municipality by 2020.

September 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm 8 comments

Moreland Council cuts funding to Carbon Management Strategy

It seems Moreland Council is playing games with being serious about a long term climate action strategy. In this years budget they set aside $525,000 for a carbon management strategy which is to be highly commended. Yet at an early hurdle at the Council meeting on 9th July, Councillors chose to transfer $100,000 out of this budget to footpath maintenance following another decision to transfer money from footpath to upgrade lighting in Brunswick.

This is a very retrograde step and is very poor timing given the Federal Government abolition of the carbon price mechanism and continuing attacks on the clean energy framework and Renewable Energy Target. We expect Moreland Council, which is known for it’s positive positions with regard to achieving carbon neutrality, climate change and sustainability issues, to maintain the current budget measures for carbon management, which has a substantial long term health and environmental benefit to the residents and ratepayers of Moreland. The Carbon Management Strategy budget funds renewable energy and emissions reduction technologies and capital infrastructure (i.e. solar panels for council buildings etc.).

The Councillors who argued in favour of these motions, say that upgrading to energy efficient LED lighting in Brunswick is a win-win scenario. While it does have some energy efficiency and carbon reduction benefit, it is not a win-win. It comes at the expense of budgeted and planned long term carbon reduction and mitigation action. Long term mitigation action is essential for reducing adaptation measures (and reducing costs) in the future. It is a short term gain at the expense of long term action. Climate action is one area where we need to think and act strategically for the long term.

This last minute major amendment to Council’s budget was supported unanimously by the ALP Councillors. (Those who voted for the budget cut- Crs Teti, Tapinos, Hopper, Gillies and Yildiz. Those against; Crs L Thompson, R Thompson, Davidson, Bolton, Ratnam). Just to highlight the inconsistency, at the very same meeting Council voted unanimously to investigate action to combat the urban heat island effect. This is important given Moreland has a high social vulnerability to the health impacts of heatwaves and hotspells.

The following attached statement on behalf of Climate Action Moreland was endorsed at our meeting, and also endorsed at the meeting of Sustainable Fawkner, for consideration of Council. In this statement:

  1. We requested that Moreland Council reconsider their funding decision in the light of our statement.
  2. We think the decision to maintain funding for footpaths highlights another important issue: the need to use low carbon and cool pavement technologies for road and footpath surfaces. We urge Council to implement a strategic review of the Road Management Plan for consideration and incorporation of low carbon and cool pavement technologies for road and footpath surfaces as part of strategies to mitigate the urban heat island effect in Moreland.

What can you do?
Write or email the Mayor and your councillors objecting to this last minute change to the budget.

Come along on 7th August to our Empowering Moreland – Community Climate Action Forum to discuss further actions we can take together.

Climate Action Moreland will be taking this further.

Statement on Moreland Council Transfer of funding from Carbon Management Strategy to Footpath maintenance

By Climate Action Moreland 21 July 2014
Endorsed by Sustainable Fawkner

At Moreland Council’s meeting on Wednesday 9th July 2014 Council passed a motion that $100,000 would be taken out of the $525,000 current environment budget for the carbon management strategy (CMS) and used for footpath maintenance. This decision was made to offset a previous decision to take money out of footpaths to upgrade lighting in Brunswick.

Firstly, we ask Council to reverse this decision and to find money for footpath maintenance from other areas. We think this is a retrograde step for money specifically allocated to reduce Council’s carbon emissions and climate footprint.

We note the decision to transfer this money raises a much larger issue. We think Council should be implementing best practice climate adaptation and carbon management strategies in all areas of service delivery, including the Road Management Plan and footpath replacement.

We also note Council voted unanimously at the same meeting to investigate action to combat the urban heat island effect.

Secondly, we therefore urge Council to implement a strategic review of the Road Management Plan for incorporation of current low carbon and cool pavement materials and technology and develop best use guidelines for immediate use of these in the municipality as part of mitigating the urban heat island effect.

We think there is sufficient evidence available from trials elsewhere for Moreland to be able to act on this, rather than do a trial of its own.

Background on Cool Pavements for moderating the Urban Heat Island Effect

We think it is an opportune time to assess the use of pavement surfacing materials and encourage use of materials with lower embedded carbon for pavement surfacing. One recent example is the use of TonerPave asphalt by certain Melbourne Councils manufactured from recycled toner cartridges and asphalt.(Bailey 2014 June 20 – Leader Newspapers)

There is also a need for pavement surfaces to utilize ‘cool pavements’ materials and technology, as one of a suite of tools for reducing the urban heat island effect.

A reading of the current City of Moreland Road Management Plan (2013) contains no reference to favouring materials with lower embedded carbon. This appears to be a missed opportunity. Portland cement and asphalt are highly carbon intensive but can be replaced with less carbon intensive products or mixed with waste byproduct and recycled materials to reduce their carbon content, as well as the potential to increase reflectance and/or permeability.

The Climate Action Moreland feedback submission to Moreland’s Draft Community Climate Action Plan earlier this year specifically detailed the importance of cool pavements as part of a strategy for mitigating the urban heat island effect, along with incorporating other tools including water sensitive urban design, increase of tree canopy to provide shade to buildings and pavements, widespread changing of surface albedo of roof surfaces of buildings (cool roofs):

“We believe that this strategy needs to include the contribution of surfaces (roads, footpaths and other paved surfaces and roofs) to the urban heat island effect. We suggest that Moreland adopt best practice “cool” paving technologies (such as the use of permeable materials and white roofs) in all work it undertakes, and advocates these technologies to residents and businesses.” (Climate Action Moreland feedback submission 27 May 2014)

Modelling summer temperatures in Melbourne has shown that the urban heat island effect can add several degrees of warming to local suburban temperatures depending upon the surface albedo of the built environment, amount of vegetation canopy and open water and wetlands. Increased housing density also resulted in increased intensity of night time UHI (Coutts, Beringer and Tapper 2008).


It is not a simple addition of a heatwave increase in temperature added to the urban heat island temperature: heatwaves exacerbate and amplify the Urban Heat Island Effect so that the impact is magnified. This poses major risks for heat related illness and mortality. (Li and Bou-Zeid 2013)

Mapping of demographic, environmental and health data by Loughnan et al (2013) shows that much of Moreland has a high social vulnerability to the urban heat island effect during extreme hotspells and heatwaves.

Professor Nigel Tapper at a recent seminar (25 June 2014) at Moreland Civic Centre organised by Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA) stated that moderating the temperatures of the built environment on extreme heat days by even a small amount may result in health crisis threshold levels being avoided with a substantial reduction in heat stress related ambulance call-outs and heat related deaths. Reducing the urban heat island effect even partially would be a major environmental and health benefit for the citizens of Moreland. (Tapper 2014 – Slideshow presentation PDF)

We note a cool pavements trial project in Chippendale, done by the City of Sydney Council, found that streets covered 24 per cent of the land surface area of the suburb. Temperature measurement of two streets, one partially shaded by buildings and a tree canopy and one exposed to full sunlight found there was a 2 degree difference in temperature, both day and night.(Samuels et al 2010) The City of Sydney is currently trialling pale coloured road surfaces. (Australian Government 2013, City of Sydney 2014). Sustainability campaigner Michael Mobbs said in an interview for ABC Lateline in 2014, “It reduces the temperatures by two to four degrees on a hot day. During heatwaves, you’re going to find that there’ll be maybe six to eight degrees difference. At the moment, it’s about 10 to 15 per cent more expensive, but as it becomes more common, the price will drop down.” (Alberici 2014) Watch the Lateline segment below:

In October 2012 California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill mandating the California Department of Transportation to develop a standard specification for cool pavements.(Chen 2012) The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) is currently developing a specification for “cool pavements” to reduce the urban heat island effect. (Caltrans 2013 PDF)

Further case studies from the United States are contained in the US Environmental Protection Agency (2012) chapter on Cool Pavements from ‘EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies’ which provides a comparison of methods and materials to use in different pavement use scenarios for increasing pavement permeability and/or albedo.

We know that funding choice priorities for Council are always difficult to balance. We reiterate that money for footpath maintenance should not be transferred from the the carbon management strategy budget, even if it does offset a previous decision to take money from footpaths to fund energy efficient public lighting.

Combating impacts of climate change, rising temperatures and the urban heat island effect needs to be managed holistically by the Council. While specific mitigation measures need to be adequately funded as per the Carbon Management Strategy, it is equally important that all of Council’s services are managed with a view to carbon neutrality and strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation.

Statement prepared by
on behalf of Climate Action Moreland
Endorsed by Sustainable Fawkner


Alberici, E. (Presenter), & O’Neill, M (Reporter). (2014, June 2) Cities need adapt to deadly heatwaves: Lateline, Retrieved from

Australian Goverenment (2013) Australian State of the Cities 2013 report Chapter 4 on Sustainability

Bailey, M. (Reporter) (2014, June 20) Nillumbik and other councils use TonerPave asphalt, made by Downer EDI Limited, Close the Loop, to resurface roads. Diamond Valley Leader. Retrieved from

California Department of Transportation (2013) Caltrans Activities to Address Climate Change – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Adapting to Impacts.

Chen, A. (2012) Cool Pavements Bill Signed Into Law. Berkeley Lab Heat Island Group

City of Moreland (2013) Road Management Plan.

City of Moreland (undated – 1999?) Hitting the road running – Moreland road asset management strategy.

City of Sydney (2014). Urban Heat Island Effect. Measuring the effect in Sydney. Retrieved

Coutts, A.M., Jason Beringer, Nigel J. Tapper, 2008: Investigating the climatic impact of urban planning strategies through the use of regional climate modelling: a case study for Melbourne, Australia. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1680

Levine, K. (2011) Cool Pavements Research and Technology, Institute of Transportation Studies Library at UC Berkeley

Li, D. and Elie Bou-Zeid (2013) Synergistic Interactions between Urban Heat Islands and Heat Waves: the Impact in Cities is Larger than the Sum of its Parts, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 201, May 2013, doi:

Loughnan, M.E., Tapper, NJ, Phan, T, Lynch, K, McInnes, JA (2013), A spatial vulnerability analysis of urban populations during extreme heat events in Australian capital cities, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 128 pp.

Samuels, R., Tony McCormick and Brett Pollard (2010) Micro-Urban-Climatic Thermal Emissions: in a Medium-Density Residential Precinct, University of New South Wales. City Futures Research Centre, ISBN: 9781740440387

Tapper, N. (2014) Tackling Urban Heat. Professor Nigel Tapper’s presentation at the City of Moreland (25 June 2014) on urban heat island effects. NAGA website PDF

United States Environment Protection Agency (2012) Cool Pavements Chapter from ‘EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies

July 25, 2014 at 10:46 am 3 comments


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UNFCCC climate conferenceNovember 7, 2021
Next United Nations climate conference COP27 in the Sinai Peninsula resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from November 7 - 18.

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This is the current C02 in our atmosphere. We need to get it below 350 for a safe climate.

Current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere


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