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Darwin Revitalisation to Deliver Cool Lifestyle and Cooler Temperatures

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In line with its plans for a massive revitalisation of Darwin, The North Territory Government has released a $32 million tender to construct a 450-space underground carpark. It is just one component of The Northern Territory Government’s overall $1.75 billion infrastructure spend, which will create around 10,000 jobs across the Territory. 

The Darwin revitalisation alone will create more than 500 direct and indirect jobs during the construction.

The Darwin revitalisation alone will create more than 500 direct and indirect jobs during the construction. 

By moving car parking underground, the government will unlock more green space, enabling it to employ heat mitigation strategies such as green canopies and technologically advanced cooling paint and paving products. The aim is to make the city a more refreshing and pleasant environment for locals and visitors alike. Heat mitigation studies, undertaken in July 2017 by Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW, Sydney, Australia, and released by the Government, concludes the minimum average surface temperature of the streets is 55,4°C recorded at the crossing between Esplanade and Bennett Street. 

The maximum is 63,2°C (Cavenagh Street – Daly street crossing). It also found the minimum average surface temperature of the parking lots is 44,9°C recorded in front of Darwin Supreme Court. The maximum is 65,7°C (Darwin GPO Postshop carpark).

The average temperature of Darwin sits in the low to mid-30s year-round, with the wet season recording humidity at more than 80%. The Bureau of Meteorology also reported last July as the hottest month ever recorded in Darwin, with temperatures around 2°C hotter than usual.

“We can unlock more green space in the city by replacing the existing heat generating carparks." 

In explaining the move to underground car parking, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Nicole Manison says: “We can unlock more green space in the city, replacing the existing heat generating carparks at the Supreme Court, Chan Building and Cenotaph whilst retaining the landscape of the current Parliament House Greens.”

She also highlights the carpark will also create employment, as “the 450-space, three-level underground carpark will create 60 construction jobs and 165 other jobs to support the project.”

Some of the heat mitigation techniques recommended once green space is freed up include: 

  • Cool pavements which absorb less solar radiation than traditional dark asphalt concrete pavements. In peak summer conditions, a conventional dark asphalt concrete pavement may exceed 60 °C. A cool pavement is around 8 °C less.

  • Cool rooftops, meaning roofs reflecting most of the sunlight. It can be a white or a cool-coloured surface (the same concept has been used for hundreds of years in places like Greece).

  • Street Canopy Shadings which reduce the solar radiation reaching the street level. Canopy Shadings mitigate urban heat islands by reducing the sunlight reaching street pavements, vehicles, and buildings.

  • Increasing Urban Greenery by exploiting available spots to increase the vegetative cover in urban areas, with grass or other vegetation, from bushes to trees. Some of the benefits include: improvement of the outdoor thermal comfort; absorbing CO2 and pollutants; reducing the storm-water runoff; creating cool islands; safeguarding biodiversity in urban areas; creating recreational areas.

  • Tree planting which reduces direct sunlight to streets without compromising airflow.

  • Green roofs where vegetation is planted onto the roofs of the building able to bear the additional load. 

  • Water Sprinkling helps minimising the thermal discomfort when the temperatures go up. The process includes spraying quickly evaporating water directly into the air while the cool air is descends to provide relief during hot days.

  • Fountains with a basin or a pond, which can efficiently contribute to mitigating heat islands by around 2.5°C.

The Northern Territory Government has agreed with the Commonwealth to create the Darwin City Deal to encourage investment. It will improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and the Territory. The City Deal is a joint project between the NT government, The City of Darwin and Charles Darwin University to create a long-term and sustainable vision for the city’s future.

“Darwin is the capital of Northern Australia. With our strategic location, access to emerging Asian markets, and vibrant, tropical lifestyle we represent both the ancient and the new,” says Manison." The Northern Territory Government, along with partners City of Darwin and Charles Darwin University, is revitalising the Darwin CBD to make it the best place in Northern Australia to live, work, and invest. 

The Northern Territory Government is revitalising the Darwin CBD to make it the best place in Northern Australia to live, work, and invest. 

“Work is underway to re-energise and rejuvenate our CBD. Street Art and pop-ups are part of the plan, along with job-creating, major infrastructure projects to transform and link our CBD, such as a new entry into the city, Barneson Boulevard, and the underground car park to free up valuable land for future use.” 

The vision for the future includes a Darwin City Centre Masterplan, and economic development framework, revitalising Barneson Boulevarde, building a new museum and art gallery, building a new Health House, and creating a city that caters to its outdoor and tropical lifestyle. 

The city has also just finished testing driverless bus technology. The Driverless Bus trial became Australia’s first open road trial of an EZ10 autonomous passenger vehicle, and it concluded in September 2017. During the 170-day trial, approximately 6,000 passengers rode the bus, and more than 88% of passenger feedback received was positive. The highly successful test contributes to the government’s vision of a connected CBD, making the city of Darwin more liveable and transforming it into a vibrant, world-class destination using modern autonomous technology.

Progress is already being made to reduce traffic, through a planned increase in shaded and cool pedestrian ways and the introduction of driverless buses, as a decrease in traffic will also contribute to heat mitigation. Planning and consultation work is also in progress for the Myilly Point precinct, which will house the Museum of the Northern Territory, and consultation results and initial concepts will be presented in coming weeks. 

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