Community Heat Study: findings and next steps

almost 3 years ago

Thank you to all the people who completed the community heat survey. We received 36 responses from the Dulwich Hill area (our first survey as part of Tomorrow’s Dulwich Hill); 76 online responses from the community across Marrickville over Summer 2015/16 (i.e. the former Marrickville council area); and 15 interviews were also conducted with participants from Seniors Groups.

The surveys found:

· 47% of people considered their health is “not at all” at risk on hot days over 35C (from 76 responses).

  • Seniors said on hot days they feel concerned about their health when they are walking on the street, walking to catch the bus, doing the shopping and going to the doctors (from 15 interviews).
  • People in Dulwich Hill felt their health was most at risk on very hot days when they were working outdoors (84%), doing exercise/recreation (76%), travelling on public transport (68%) and running errands and shopping (61%) (from 36 responses).
  • The local services or facilities most used in the heat were shopping centre or cinema, aquatic centre and library (from 76 responses).
  • Seniors groups also said the library, community transport and shady seats for refuge were important on hot days (from 15 responses).

The survey results indicate that:

  • Awareness of the health risks associated with extreme heat is somewhat low in the general community sample, but higher amongst the people in the seniors groups.
  • People surveyed have a good idea of how to prepare and cope in very hot weather.
  • Cool community facilities and centres (including shopping centres) and respite from heat on our streets (such as shade, seating and bubblers) are important to people in very hot weather.

What else have we been doing?

Council has also consolidated urban heat, social vulnerability and activity centre mapping to identify four urban heat hotspots:

  • Near the intersection of Marrickville Road and Illawarra Road, Marrickville;
  • Intersection of Illawarra Rd and Warren Rd, Marrickville;
  • Dulwich Hill Train Station and the nearby Wardell Rd, Dulwich Hill; and
  • Dulwich Hill Village, Marrickville Rd near intersection with New Canterbury Rd.

Recommendations from the study

The mapping information has been coupled with the community surveys to identify a number of recommendations:

  • Hotspot areas should be prioritised for works to introduce cooling features, such as trees, green walls, rain gardens, seats in the shade, bubblers or cool bus shelters.
  • A community heat plan should be developed that covers places to go to cool down, access to bubblers or drinking water and a communication plan for vulnerable groups over summer periods. Council has applied for a grant to help fund this recommendation.
  • Urban heat mapping should be extended to the whole Inner West Council area.

How are we currently using this information?

Already this important information from mapping and surveys is being incorporated into the ten-year plan for the Marrickville Town Centre Upgrade and the Tomorrow’s Dulwich Hill project.