The Influence of Housing Density and Urban Design on the Surface Energy Balance and Local Climates of Melbourne, Australia, and the Impact of Melbourne’s 2030 Vision

(2004 – 2008)
Andrew Coutts

The focus of Andrews thesis was upon the effects of increased housing density on Melbourne’s climate, and the importance of incorporating considerations of urban climate within urban policy development. The thesis drew on upon particular policy directions outlined within the Melbourne 2030 plan, which suggested the viability of a more ‘compact’ city (i.e. increased housing density) with built-up city centres and an urban growth boundary. Measurements of surface energy balance fluxes across sites of varying urban densities were recorded in order to ascertain the impacts upon local climates. Modelling techniques were also utilised to predict how Melbourne’s climate would

alter if the Melbourne 2030 plan were fully implemented. Through these methods, it was shown that ongoing development of the natural environment towards city and suburban landscapes would create a warmer and drier Melbourne. It is noted that although a more ‘compact’ city would result in increased urban temperatures, appropriate policy initiatives and urban planning guidelines could improve urban climates, and achieve a more sustainable city.

Site locations of Melbourne CBD and three urban sites (Armadale: HIGH, Preston: MEDIUM, and Surrey Hills: LOW) and one rural site (Lyndhurst: RURAL) on a Landsat image of the region (Department of Sustainability and Environment, 2000: Landsat mosaic. TM Mosaic 2000 Colour, 30 metre pixels, Vicmap Australia)

Click here to read the abstract of this PhD – PDF (0.3MB)

Supervisors:
Prof Jason Beringer and Prof Nigel Tapper

Publication:

Coutts A.M. (2008) The Influence of Housing Density and Urban Design on the Surface Energy Balance and Local Climates of Melbourne, Australia, and the Impact of Melbourne’s 2030 Vision. PhD Thesis. School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Other Publications (link)