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Local News

5 ways to cool cities as temperatures soar

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A city development to cool cities.

5 ways to cool cities as temperatures soar

 

UNSW Sydney

As Australia heads into an El Nino summer, UNSW’s Dr Negin Nazarian, an expert in urban climate, explains 5 crucial strategies to keep cities – and people – cooler. 

There are several factors that interact when we think about heat in the urban environment.

“First, there’s urban heat itself,” explains Dr Nazarian, “which is the change brought about by urbanisation, buildings, roads, infrastructure and the like. This is often referred to as urban heat island. Then, there’s the impact of climate change, which means that average temperatures globally, as well as in cities, are increasing across the board.

“Finally, climate extremes such as heat waves, are becoming more frequent, longer, and intense due to global warming. And in El Nino years, like now, the risk of climate extremes is also increased. Considering all these drivers, our cities are faced with an increasingly pressing problem of how to manage heat and care for the people living in them. This includes mitigating urban heat in our cities as well as helping our people adapt to them to reduce the negative impacts on their lives.”

1. Cool materials

Urban areas, like cities, are warmer than natural areas – creating what people talk about as the Urban Heat Island effect. And that’s mostly because the types of materials used to create buildings have different properties than natural land cover.

“In the natural environment you have trees, grass and soil, which provide shade, absorb heat and retain water in the environment. However, most materials which create the built environment absorb more heat, trap more radiation, and have no way of retaining moisture for cooling,” explains Dr Nazarian.

To keep cool cities, it’s important for developments to increasingly utilise cool materials that radiate heat, rather than absorbing it. “This can range from light-coloured paints that are suitable on roofs, through to the use of advanced super cool (retroreflective) coatings on pavements. The more advanced ’super cool’ materials reflect most of the striking radiation backwards to the sky, reducing the heat trapped within the urban canopy, which means they won’t be affecting thermal comfort of people in our streets,” says Prof. Nazarian.

Recent developments in some areas of Sydney have seen a proliferation of dark coloured roofs, which accentuates heat accumulation in these new suburbs. “Revisiting the ban on black roofs and requiring the use of light coloured roofing materials by councils would be one way to start to mitigate heat in these green-field developments,” says Prof. Nazarian.

Indonesia’s Cool Roof Project is aiming to create 1 million cool roofs to combat rising temperatures. Cool materials reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by a building, reducing temperatures inside. Credit: BeCool Indonesia.

Indonesia's Cool Roof Project is aiming to create 1 million cool roofs to combat rising temperatures. Cool materials reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by a building, reducing temperatures inside. Credit: BeCool Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Cool Roof Project is aiming to create 1 million cool roofs to combat rising temperatures. Cool materials reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat absorbed by a building, reducing temperatures inside. Credit: BeCool Indonesia.

2. Green Spaces

Increasing urban greenery helps keep cities liveable as temperatures rise.

“Heat mitigation is nuanced,” says Prof Nazarian. “Just planting lots of trees will not cool our cities as we are also facing climate change and its impact on extremes. And most trees only have cooling benefits when they are sufficiently mature, so the impact is medium to long-term impact. However, trees have significant benefits such as providing shade, which reduces our exposure to heat, and helps us endure hotter temperatures. They also have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing, and air quality.”

Parklands, operate in the same way, on a larger scale, creating a ‘thermal oasis’. “They may not fully mitigate urban heat at the city scale, but they provide local cooling and, more importantly, minimise the impact that heat will have on people. Creating more of these thermal oases will help manage the impact of increased urban temperatures,” says Dr Nazarian.

“Green roofs and facades are another good option for cities as they reflect rather than absorb heat,” says Dr Nazarian, “Green facades and roofs also contribute to energy saving of buildings though they are easier to implement in new buildings, where specific water-proofing and irrigation needs can be included in the design.”

Green facades reflect rather than absorb heat, and can also cool through evapotranspiration. Image: Manly Vale Carpark, Sydney / Junglefy.

Green facades reflect rather than absorb heat, and can also cool through evapotranspiration. Image: Manly Vale Carpark, Sydney / Junglefy.

Green facades reflect rather than absorb heat, and can also cool through evapotranspiration. Image: Manly Vale Carpark, Sydney / Junglefy.

3. Climate-Responsive Urban planning

Urban design and planning decisions have a significant impact on temperature regulation. “Street canyons configured to promote shade and ventilation reduce local air and surface temperatures and improve outdoor thermal comfort, and are key to cooling our cities and people”.

Dr Nazarian also suggests careful consideration of the ratio of impervious surfaces to ‘natural’ and ‘porous’ land needs to take place. And with newer developments, such as those in Western Sydney, the recommended ratio (for instance in the Cool Suburbs Tool used in NSW) is a minimum 50% site perviousness, which can include green roofs and porous pavements.

Moreover, urban design that includes open spaces and positions buildings to facilitate natural ventilation can help dissipate heat in cities. In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the sea breeze effectively cools the area, while in the western suburbs creating ponds and parks which then cool the breezes that flow through the area can work in the same way.

Singapore’s network of wind corridors exemplifies how thoughtful planning can create a symbiotic relationship between thermal oases and ventilation.

The strategic placement of buildings near blue and green infrastructure, such as in these plans from the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority, can allow for improved ventilation in the built environment, resulting in the flow of cooler air into urban areas.

blue and green infrastructure

blue and green infrastructure

4. Blue infrastructure

Like green spaces, blue infrastructure, involving water bodies like ponds, rivers and dams, can be a powerful tool for temperature reduction. Integrating water features with green spaces can also help lower the temperatures of surrounding areas. Blue infrastructures can also be strategically placed together with greenery and wind corridors: as breezes blow over bodies of water they are cooled and then transport this cooling effect over nearby areas.

In western Sydney, the Norwest City project combined ponds and green areas with a great cooling effect and deployed a detailed cooling guide to integrate blue and green infrastructure in a multi-use precinct.

In a smaller way, water fountains in shopping areas, parks and boulevards, help cool people when temperatures are high.

A city development to cool cities.

“Our cities are faced with an increasingly pressing problem of how to manage heat and care for the people living in them,” says Dr Nazarian. Western Sydney’s Norwest City project integrates blue and green infrastructure to manage heat. (FJC Studio)

5. Reduce human-created heat

The final piece of the puzzle is reducing heat generated by human activities, which is part of a larger project of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In cities, Dr Nazarian underscores the need to rethink air-conditioning, car use and industrial practices.

“While air-conditioning gives people relief from heat, it simultaneously releases condensation and heat out into the environment, creating more demand for cooling, releasing more heat into the environment in a vicious cycle. Singapore, for instance, is shifting towards more energy-efficient, centralised cooling systems to mitigate localised heat. And some researchers are looking at ways to encourage the increased use of fans, which require far less energy to operate and don’t add heat to the atmosphere.”

There is no silver-bullet to reduce heat in our cities, but cool materials, green spaces, thoughtful urban planning, blue infrastructure and a reduction in human-generated heat will all need to be part of the picture.

 

For more real estate news, click here.

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Gardening

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

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Kids Cubby Houses

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

 

Cubby houses, those quaint, imaginative structures nestled in backyards around the globe, are more than just play spaces for kids—they are sanctuaries of creativity, learning, and childhood memories. In this exploration of cubby houses, we delve into their charm, benefits for childhood development, design considerations, and tips for creating the ultimate backyard adventure.

Cubby Houses and Childhood Development

At first glance, a cubby house might appear as a simple wooden structure tucked into a garden corner. Yet, to children, it represents a boundless world of fantasy and freedom. These mini-homes are the stages for imaginative play, where kids can be pirates one day and bold explorers the next. This imaginative play is crucial for cognitive development, raising creativity, problem-solving skills, and independence.

Cubby houses also serve as a child’s first look into ownership, giving them a sense of responsibility and pride in their space. Decorating and caring for their cubby, children learn about organisation and personal responsibility in a fun, engaging way.

The Design Philosophy Behind Cubby Houses

When designing a cubby house, the goal is to balance safety, creativity, and environmental harmony. Modern cubby houses range from simplistic designs to elaborate mini-mansions, equipped with verandas, slides, and even climbing walls. However, the essence of a cubby house is not in its complexity but in its ability to inspire and adapt to a child’s imagination.

Eco-friendly materials and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in cubby house construction. Recycled wood, non-toxic paints, and solar-powered lights are just a few options for parents looking to minimise environmental impact. Moreover, incorporating natural elements like sandpits, water play areas, and gardens can further connect children with nature, enhancing their learning and sensory development.

Incorporating Education into Play

The educational potential of cubby houses is vast. By integrating elements like chalkboards, weather stations, or even simple tools for gardening, children can learn valuable lessons about the world around them. These features encourage exploration and curiosity, key drivers of lifelong learning.

Cubby houses are also excellent tools for social development. They can be hubs for social interaction where kids learn to negotiate, share, and work together. Whether it’s deciding on the day’s play theme or resolving a dispute about who gets to be the captain of the ship, these experiences are invaluable in developing empathy and social skills.

Creating Your Child’s Dream Cubby House

Building a cubby house can be a wonderful project for the whole family.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Safety First: Ensure the structure is stable and materials are safe. Smooth out any sharp edges, and if the house is elevated, secure railings and a sturdy ladder.
  • Let Creativity Lead: Involve your child in the design process. Their imaginative ideas can lead to unique features that make the cubby house truly theirs.
  • Consider the Location: Place the cubby house in a spot that’s easily visible from the house but also immersed in the garden. Proximity to trees, flowers, and shrubs can enhance the sense of adventure.
  • Think Long-Term: Children grow quickly, so consider a design that can evolve with them. Modular cubby houses that allow for expansions or modifications can extend the life of the playhouse.

The Community Aspect of Cubby Houses

Cubby houses have the power to bring communities together. Neighbourhood cubby house competitions or shared community garden cubbies can foster a sense of togetherness and shared pride. These initiatives not only create communal spaces for play but also teach children the value of community and collective care for shared spaces.

The Cubby Houses Await!

Cubby houses represent a world of wonder for kids, offering endless possibilities for play, learning, and growth. They are microcosms of creativity, where the simplest structures can become castles, spaceships, or secret headquarters in the eyes of a child.

Beyond their immediate joy and entertainment value, cubby houses play a crucial role in childhood development, encouraging independence, social skills, and a connection with nature.

As we design and build these special spaces, we’re reminded of the importance of play in a child’s life—not just for fun, but as a fundamental part of learning about the world and themselves.

In the end, the greatest gift we can give our children is the space and freedom to explore, imagine, and dream. And perhaps, in the process of creating these magical garden retreats, we rediscover a bit of our own childhood wonder along the way.

 

For more gardening news, click here.

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Casino Beef Week

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

Casino, 8/4/2024 – Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM. This year’s event is set to surpass all expectations, encapsulating the essence of country life in a morning filled with fun, food, and festivity.

Thanks to the generous support of The MJ Smith Group, our 2024 Major Sponsor, the annual Free Community Breakfast will offer attendees a delightful taste of the local life with complimentary sausage or steak sandwiches, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit, generously donated by Woolworths Casino. This partnership exemplifies The MJ Smith Group’s deep commitment to the local community, showcasing a shared passion for uniting and enriching our region.

Brody Lisha, President of Casino Beef Week, expressed his enthusiasm about the event: “We are overjoyed to have The MJ Smith Group as our Major Sponsor this year. Their dedication to the community mirrors our mission to celebrate our country life and bring people together. This event is more than just a breakfast; it’s a showcase of what makes our community so vibrant and unique.”

Casino NSW_Breakfast_with_the_Butchers

Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM.

The event will feature an impressive display of machinery, allowing attendees to witness the remarkable work of The MJ Smith Group firsthand. “Seeing the machinery up close is a testament to the innovation and hard work that drives our local industries. It’s an honour to highlight this aspect of our community at the event,” said Lisha.

Adding to the excitement, the annual Richmond Dairies Cow Pat Lotto, presented by Bently Community Preschool, returns with a larger prize pool thanks to Richmond Dairies and Macdonalds Pharmacy. “The Cow Pat Lotto is a tradition that everyone looks forward to. It’s a fun, quirky way to engage with the community while supporting a great cause,” Lisha remarked.

Butchers from the region will compete in the Verto Sausage Competition, aiming for the titles of Best Beef Sausage and Best Gourmet Sausage. Lisha commented, “Our local butchers are incredibly talented, and this competition is a fantastic way to showcase their skills and the quality of our local produce.”

The day will also feature live entertainment from Sam Handford and the grand finale of the CiCom Busking Championships on the Jack Links Stage. “The talent we have in our community is astounding, and the Jack Links Stage is the perfect platform to showcase it. It’s going to be an unforgettable day,” Lisha added.

Casino Beef Week invites everyone to join in celebrating our country life, embodying the community spirit that makes our region so special. Don’t miss this outstanding day of free food, fantastic entertainment, and family-friendly fun.

The Breakfast will be lived streamed via ZZZFM and 2LM.

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Entertainment

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

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Earth Frequency Festival 2024

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

 

Earth Frequency Festival is a music, arts, lifestyle and environmental festival based in South-East Queensland, Australia, with a strong focus on arts, education, healing and community spirit.

While drawing from many cultural niches such as transformational festival, tribal gathering, doof and boutique festival, the aim of Earth Frequency Festival is to go beyond these traditional tags and to exist as a multi-faceted gathering focused broadly on creativity, connection, intention and inspiration.

From it’s origins as a small landcare party in 2005, Earth Frequency has now become one of Australia’s foremost transformational gatherings.

At Earth Frequency, you can always expect an amazing mixture of live and electronic music, performance, visionary art, workshops and lectures, a family and kids space, a fantastic food and markets area, and of course a positive community vibe.

Our aim is to create nothing short of a life changing, transformative experience! We aim to provide a meeting place – people from many different backgrounds, ages and walks of life come together with the shared interests of music, nature, technology, culture and peace.

Earth Frequency Festival is held each year at Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events in Peak Crossing. Ivory’s Rock is a beautiful outdoor venue with top notch facilities, comfortable campgrounds, and it is conveniently located under an hour from Brisbane and just 20 minutes from Ipswich.

Nurtured by the setting of the beautiful Australian outdoors, we gather together once a year to celebrate life with music, art and other creative forms, and to educate, connect, heal and inspire.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: May 3-6
  • Where: Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events, Peak Crossing.
  • Price: From $280
  • Tickets: www.earthfrequency.com.au

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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