The impact of surface cover and tree canopy on air temperature in Western Sydney

Heat resilience Shade trees Urban heat islands Outdoor temperature Urban planning Greater Western Sydney

This study represents a natural progression of the research described in "Benchmarking Heat Across Campbelltown, New South Wales.” Increasing summer temperatures and urban development in Western Sydney present key challenges for contemporary planning. In the past decade, local populations of Western Sydney experienced record-breaking heat during consecutive years. All available climate projections point to a continuation of this menacing trend. Evidence-based strategies are necessary to improve the resilience of existing settlements against heat. New settlements must embrace all available means to become ‘heat smart’ from the get-go. This research shows that increasing the area of hard surfaces and buildings leads to warming while increasing the area of open spaces and tree canopy leads to cooling. Additional observations are provided based on analyses of empirical data. The results of this work are used to formulate a large number of recommendations on how to inform existing policies and improve planning practices for urban development throughout Western Sydney.

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