ACT Government is tackles urban heat by increasing greenery

The City Renewal Authority is trialling new urban furniture in Latin America Plaza and Civic Square designed to help keep our city cool and provide shade over the warmer months.

The Authority has commissioned two design agencies – Brindabella Constructions and Formswell – to design, fabricate, and install two structures that demonstrate an alternative to large shade trees for some of the hotter locations in our inner-city environments. This project builds on the recent opening of the City Walk landscape upgrade which demonstrates the value of nature in our public spaces and creating welcoming places for people to sit and enjoy.

As our climate changes, research is revealing that future heat wave events will be an increasing challenge for cities, where hard surfaces attract and retain heat. To keep our city cooler and support community health and wellbeing, the ACT Government is tackling urban heat by increasing nature in our cities.

Both structures contain a selection of fast-growing climbing plants, a unique inner plant frame, water sensitive soil and surround seating for people to enjoy. The umbrella-like frames will offer protection from the sun as the plants grow up and over the frame.

Climbers are versatile plants that can be used for many applications. They respond to pruning, can be trained to grow into interesting patterns and shapes and perform the important function of shading a west facing windows in summer but letting in the sun in winter.

The plant species selected include bower vine, trumpet vine, Macquarie vine, Boston ivy, Chinese star jasmine, as well as groundcovers in the base pot.

Providing greenery in our urban centres where there typically is extensive paving, hard surfaces and less soft landscaping can be a challenge for planners and designers. Fast growing, climbing plants can offer a convenient, accessible and cost-effective interim solution where it is difficult to grow trees to their full height. The authority will be monitoring the growth of the climbers closely as part of the trial to inform future projects.

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