Beating the Heat in Melbourne, Australia

When studying cities around the world that have strong multi-modal transportation options (bicycle infrastructure, streetcars, pedestrian paths), a high level of walkability, and an active downtown life, it’s hard to beat Australia’s second most populous city, Melbourne. In previous articles, we discussed roadblocks to creating a vital downtown life given the climate in the South…Melbourne shares this concern, but with temperatures that have trumped even the highest found in Dallas. On February 7th of this year, Melbourne’s mercury tipped in at a steamy 46.4 degrees Celsius…that translates to 115.5 degrees fahrenheit.

So what design cues could Dallas pull from a city like Melbourne when attempting to revitalize its streets while being mindful of the climate? Here are some tips we learned from reviewing planning methods their city leaders have pursued:

– Orient buildings and structures to maximize potential for breezeways
– Shading is CRITICAL. Provide as much shading vegetation as possible, utilize large awnings on pathways (discourage short awnings)
– Make a requirement for shower facilities to encourage workers to cycle to work
– Encourage development of water facilities (water fountains/features) at ground level to create feel of coolness
– Capture the heat with creative use of solar shading
– Encourage businesses to open windows, fold back cafe doors during mornings and evenings to create inviting feel
– Discourage use of building materials and colors that reflect heat
– Minimize open paved areas
– Develop courtyards between buildings to take advantage of shade and breezeway

(Hardware Lane, in Melboure, Australia)

(Melbourne Image by Mia Mala McDonald )

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