The Urban Sustainability brand within the City of Melbourne required a pilot project to analyse and map the thermal comfort for pedestrian routes. Focusing on Melbourne’s Innovation District as the study area, a spatial model was built identifying the most thermally comfortable route to planned destinations on pedestrian networks using a combination of spatial and network analysis toolkits.

With the frequency of extreme heat events increasing in urban areas, heat stress is becoming a major health concern for pedestrians as they navigate their way across the urban landscape. While trees and shade can offer some reduction of ambient temperate, additional cooling potential depends on the nature of the surrounding urban environment, such as surface materials, geometry, building height and density.

To improve liveability and pedestrian wellbeing, the City of Melbourne is implementing a Digital Urban Infrastructure program that encompasses three pilot projects to test the performance of digital infrastructure such as sensors within the urban environment. The city is interested in further understanding the benefits, impacts, challenges and opportunities for expanding digital urban infrastructure within the municipality. Cooling the City forms one of the selected projects and involves analysing and mapping the thermal comfort for pedestrian routes.