Climate adaptation and urban planning for heat islands: a case study of the Australian Capital Territory

Sirat Mahmuda, Bob Webb

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Urban heat island (UHI) describes the higher temperature that occurs in built-up areas compared to surrounding natural landscapes. The article identifies the evidence of UHI in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the extent to which the Territory is addressing this through urban planning and climate adaptation regimes. Remotely sensed data were used to retrieve land surface temperature to outline the spatial form of surface heat hotspots. It was found that established town centres in the Territory have hotspots. Hotspots were also found in grasslands, bare ground and dry forests. Research from other jurisdictions provides insights on potential UHI responses at city, neighbourhood and building scales. Whilst current ACT Government planning and adaptation regimes do not address UHI explicitly, they do promote urban forests, integrated open space and urban water bodies which, along with various building standards and guides, can help ameliorate UHI. The ACT has adopted the 'compact city' as a future development strategy. Urban intensification will occur in areas that are already identified as hotspots. This, along with the potential impacts of climate change, will require more explicit and increased focus on UHI in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-142pp.
    JournalAustralian Planner
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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