Responding to the urban heat island: a policy and institutional analysis

Urban heat islands Green infrastructure

Dealing with heat stress in Australian cities is of increasing concern to decisionmakers. Indeed, heat is already an issue affecting Melbourne with people, buildings, and infrastructure all evidenced as being vulnerable to episodes of extreme heat. It is likely that without deliberate interventions the urban heat island (UHI) will be further amplified by a combination of increasing urbanisation to cater for anticipated population growth and increasing temperatures associated with global climate change.

One important adaptation option for moderating the impact of urban heat (which also has multiple societal benefits and contributes to a broader urban liveability agenda), is to increase the cover of a range of vegetation types across the urban form; known collectively as the city’s ‘Green Infrastructure’ (GI). This study – based on literature review, policy analysis, semi-structured interviews and actor mapping – sought to better understand some of the key barriers to, and opportunities for, an increased implementation of GI across the Melbourne conurbation as an important adaptation measure for combatting urban heat stress.

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