SILVIA TAVARES

Urban growth, heat islands, humidity, climate change: the costs multiply in tropical cities

During a heatwave in late 2018, Cairns temperatures topped 35°C nine days in a row and sensors at some points in the CBD recorded 45°C.

Taha Chaiechi, James Cook University and Silvia Tavares, James Cook University

Some 60% of the planet’s expected urban area by 2030 is yet to be built. This forecast highlights how rapidly the world’s people are becoming urban. Cities now occupy about 2% of the world’s land area, but are home to about 55% of the world’s people and generate more than 70% of global GDP, plus the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

So what does this mean for people who live in the tropical zones, where 40% of the world’s population lives? On current trends, this figure will rise to 50% by 2050. With tropical economies growing some 20% faster than the rest of the world, the result is a swift expansion of tropical cities. Read more…

JCU postgraduate scholarships

Applications for postgraduate research scholarships at James Cook University are now open and I’d love to hear from candidates interested in urban design, planning, urban microclimates, sensing cities, climate responsive urban design, architecture design and performance and any related topics.

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Building a climate-proof future

This article was originally published on 28th June on JCU’s Brighter website.

As climate change continues to wreak its path through tropical communities, architects and urban planners are combatting the potentially disastrous effects with innovative design solutions.

Dr. Silvia Tavares “designs cities with an eye on the climate”. A leading urban designer and senior lecturer at James Cook University, Dr. Tavares has a passion for creating places that foster connection and wellbeing, while being sustainable for the future. Read more…

City temperatures and city economics, a hidden relationship between sun and wind and profits

Cairns Lagoon: as a good response to the tropical climate, it’s a very active place but with little business activity. Silvia Tavares, Author provided

 

Silvia Tavares, James Cook University and Taha Chaiechi, James Cook University

Urban design undoubtedly influences the urban economy. A simple thing like designing an area to make it more walkable can boost local business profits. This can also increase real estate value, create more and better jobs and generate stronger local economies.

Street temperatures also determine their walkability. With climate change bringing longer and more frequent heatwaves, street temperatures will become even higher than at present. This will reduce walkability and, in turn, local business profitability. Read more…

Thinkers in the Tropical Shade: Empowering Lessons for Livable Places

Cairns, Queensland, Australia: avoiding the humidity using active transport (Photo by Chuck Wolfe)

Last June, Chuck Wolfe, David Sellars and I published an article on Planetizen about the fundamental relationships at the heart of urban public health and livability, particularly in tropical Australia. In this article we discuss the importance of context, the relevance of the UN-Habitat New Urban Agenda, the Urban Thinkers Campuses recently hosted by JCU (Understanding Cairns and Townsville through the urban diary tool), place-based urban planning and design and the lessons learned so far.

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Urban Thinkers Campus – Cairns and Townsville, Australia

James Cook University‘s College of Science and Engineering and College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, through myself and David Sellars, with the full support of Nikki Huddy from Planz, have been organising an Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) framed around the topic of urban planning and design and public health. The UTC entitled ‘Urban Health and Livability in Tropical Australia through urban diaries and community engagement’ will take place on the 8th June in Cairns and 15th June in Townsville, and they are both day-long events (see preliminary schedule here). Read more…