Resilience & Climate Change


A key aspect of Resilience Planning is the focus on systemic connectivity, and strategies to mitigate ‘cascading failures’, (Resilient Sydney). A Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PDF, 1822.81 KB) (opens in a new window) (PRA) has been undertaken, focusing on climate change risks for our campus infrastructure and campus communities of practice. However, this scope informs broader social, infrastructure and landscape imperatives due to the ongoing development and role of Western within the region.

Overview

Key Strategies Emerging

Key recommendations emerging from the PRA (PDF, 1822.81 KB) (opens in a new window) included:

  • Embedding resilience in strategy and planning, through: enhancing capacities across the CORE domains (curriculum, operations,research and engagement); promoting citizen scholarship and Living Labs, and developing resilient precincts through Green Star Communities.
  • Enhancing integrative infrastructure strategies, including:sustainable energy and water strategies; strategic asset planning,and design for thermal tolerance and protection.
  • Implementing adaptation strategies for design and operations, such as: HVAC demands and passive thermal design, thermal comfort through shading and refuges, and readiness for increasing bushfire risk and storm damage.

Campus workshops as part of the PRA identified the need for cross-disciplinary opportunities and student recognition, a range of adaptation opportunities, integration through Living Labs,communication strategies and the demonstration of best practice.

Management Initiatives Underway

  • Strategic asset planning/maintenance
  • Sustainable energy initiatives
  • Water recycling, stormwater and rainwater harvesting and water use efficiency
  • Green Star accredited buildings and adaptive reuse
  • Research protection for key facilities
  • Landscape and outdoor assets operated in a manner consistent with drought, bushfire and biosecurity risks
  • Public space management for amenity, accessibility and cooling

Related Living Lab Initiatives

Compliance Requirements and Risk

Impacts expected from climate change in Western Sydney include higher temperatures and longer periods of heat, longer periods of drought, higher bushfire risks, and destructive storms. Risks include thermal comfort and heat impacts on human health, increased urban heat with reduced amenity and accessibility, higher energy use for mitigation, and reduced water availability.

Trends and Interdependencies

Modelling projections and observations clearly support increasing trends and are therefore clear requirements for both adaptation strategies and mitigation efforts. Complex and broad-ranging interdependencies within urban, peri-urban and rural social-ecological systems and landscapes.

Targets

2020Resilience assessment communicated and strategies underway
2025Infrastructure strategies and precinct planning implemented
2030Demonstrated best practice

Initiatives and Case Studies

Resilience Assessment and Roadshows

During development of the Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PDF, 1822.81 KB) (opens in a new window), a discussion paper, campus workshops, and the final summary document were circulated to members of the Environment and Sustainability Research Theme as a key reference group. This was followed by a series of Resilience Roadshows across campuses to communicate key recommendations, introduce Living Lab initiatives, and introduce student initiatives. Engagement with local Councils is also underway.

Carpark Solar Structure, Kingswood

An integrated pilot, and associated Urban Heat and Solar Engineering Living Lab, is being developed on Kingswood campus. The carpark structure is a potential integrated solution, addressing a key area of urban heat in Western Sydney: open air carparks. The benefits of this structure include:

  • Generation of solar power as a strategy to reduce peak energy load
  • Cooling and shading of carparks, reducing heat load
  • Amenity and accessibility of shaded carparks
  • Safety through design, improving access during intense storms
  • Potential bundling with EV car charging points.

Urban Heat

SDGs 3,4,11,13,14, 17