As a way to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect, MEFL in a partnership with Moreland City Council is working on a project named Cooling Communities. This project is funded through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and will work in areas of social housing in Moreland.
Moreland’s suburbs are particularly vulnerable to heat waves due to a lack of green infrastructure and lack of water bodies such as rivers or lagoons. An analysis shows that vulnerability to the UHIE is particularly extreme in areas of social housing. This project aims to create a set of recommendations which will promote UHIE resilience in social housing areas, for use by local government, social housing providers, and residents across Victoria.
This trial will provide data to inform the renewal and new construction of social housing by identifying cost-effective approaches to mitigate UHIE impacts for vulnerable residents. We aim to:
- Identify residents at most risk
- Measure effectiveness of various methods to address UHIE in residential dwellings
- Identity co-benefits of key measures
- Discover barriers to implementing these measures on the ground
- Allow identification of partners and integrated program delivery options.
On the ground
This first program focuses on retrofitting ten dwellings with features such as insulation and external shading. In addition, the project will potentially forge greater links and relationships with local social housing providers and social housing residents.
Living in urban areas, we are often surrounded by dark-coloured, hard surfaces, lots of thermal mass in the form of buildings, and little in the way of vegetation or bodies of water that might provide shade and evaporative cooling. These factors work together to create the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), and it means hot days are often hotter for longer in cities.