Following a high profile gathering of city planning and urban development specialists in Adelaide on December 9, some solutions to combat high temperatures and summer heatwaves have been floated that are simple, cost effective and can be implemented at home as well as in urban open spaces.
In an interview with the ABC, Professor Veronica Soebarto (Chair of the Heat and Habitat in Cities Symposium) said that “intensifying heat in Australian cities was caused by a lack of greenery, as well as concrete buildings and other hard surfaces that "radiate heat".
"Our activities create heat and increasingly, in modern society, with cars and air-conditioning, that would add to the already warm environment. Concrete and hard surfaces add to the heat as well.”
The problem is a pressing one, but Professor Soebarto said there were a range of options for cities wishing to reduce the amount of radiant heat.
We completely agree and support the use of materials like cool paving (Parramatta Council – NSW) and urban design to increase airflow in alleyways and side streets. But in addition to architecture and materials, Professor Soebarto also cited green infrastructure (increased planting, shade and small parks) to provide canopy and cool road and path surfaces.
The use of fruit trees for this purpose has been successful around the world – and particularly in urban environments. The same approach can be used in your backyard at home where the right trees, mulch and watering can create a unique food forest that not only supplies the family with fresh fruit but could cool your property in summer by as much as 4 degrees (C). Likewise on front walkways or road verges/median strips, fruit trees provide both an aesthetic and cooling benefit to the local environment.
Come in and see the team at The Garden Shed Nursery to find out more or see some examples of food forests in action.