Scientists engage with communities to improve urban microclimates.
In a collaboration between RMIT and the University of New South Wales, the Citizen Science Project will mobilise a league of enthusiastic citizen scientists to assist Australia’s leading universities and scientific organisations with their research. The project was one of the successful grants announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos.
What is the project?
The number of extreme hot days is predicted to increase significantly over the next few decades in all Australian cities with a huge impact on public health, mortality rates, energy demand and the economy. With the help of citizens, this project will measure urban heat islands, overheating, and local climate change in selected Australian councils, providing the data required for citizens to understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat.
Project results may assist policymakers in predicting future health and energy needs and planning the urban built environment and open space. Importantly, through data collection and participation, citizens will be empowered to respond to extreme heat through an understanding of the influential factors.
Who will be involved?
Researchers will work with 12,200 local community members through 22 councils from various states representing different geographical locations. The locations will be selected based on factors such as density, population, physical features, overheating problems etc. The first selected councils are: City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, Moreland City Council, Blacktown City Council and City of Adelaide. Further councils to be announced.
What is involved?
Using measurement sensors, citizens will be educated on how to measure the microclimate in their neighbourhood. The online thermal comfort model and mitigation tool developed will help to understand the important parameters influencing the microclimate and the ways to improve the adverse effects of increased temperatures.
This approach will help to transfer knowledge about climate mitigation technologies to the participating citizens; involve them in the selection of appropriate mitigation measures through understanding of the usefulness of the mitigation technologies; and promote their active participation in the implementation of mitigation techniques in their home and neighbourhood.
Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan
Professor Mat Santamouris
Dr Mary Myla Andamon
Dr Ricardo Paolini
Dr Afroditi Synnefa
Dr Ruwini Edrisinghe