Wednesday, 30 October 2019 13:15

Sydney Climathon seeks heatwave resilience

WSROC Project Coordinator, Judith Bruinsma presenting at Climathon WSROC Project Coordinator, Judith Bruinsma presenting at Climathon Alice Simpson-Young

Over 100 cities from around the world participated in a global 24 hour Climathon on 25 October 2019. 

Climathon is a year-round programme, which focuses on a solutions-hackathon in October each year. The Hackathon seeks to develop solutions to climate challenges and translate these into tangible projects, supporting climate positive businesses, and addressing local policy changes.

City of Sydney was the first city to kick-off its Climathon which saw over 100 participants from insurance, government, architecture, data analytics, design, health and GIS backgrounds come together to answer the question:

How might we leverage data and technology to develop new solutions that improve Sydney’s resilience to heatwaves, by mitigating related impacts on economic, infrastructure, social and public health outcomes?

Heatwaves were chosen as the theme for Sydney’s Climathon because of their significant impact here. Heatwaves kill more Australians than all other natural hazards combined. They also have critical impacts on our city’s infrastructure and systems, cost of living and the environment.  Heatwaves are recognised as the greatest threat to resilience across Greater Sydney by organisations including Resilient Sydney, NSW Office of Emergency Management, Office of Environment, and the Greater Sydney Commission.

WSROC was one of several presenters to provide the Climathon participants background into some of the challenges to mitigate heatwaves. Western Sydney residents have a greater exposure to, and level of vulnerability to heat events due to a range of geographic, economic and socio-cultural factors. Generally, Western Sydney experiences far higher temperatures than eastern counterparts due to both the natural geography of the region and the form of our rapid urban development. Furthermore, the vulnerability of local residents to heat events can be greatly increased by age, low-income, chronic health conditions, lack of public transport access, and low English proficiency; all of which are more prevalent in our region.

Other speakers at the event included: Kirsten Gabriel (Resilient Sydney), Felicity Calvert (Red Cross), Simon Wild (Lendlease), Ralph Ronnenberg (Munich RE), and Rod Simpson (Greater Sydney Commission).

The winning project was a proposal called Coheatsion which looked at creating social cohesion through technology to mitigate the impact of heatwaves.

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