Why do we need Cool Streets™?


 

Urban areas around the world are warming at almost 1.5 times the rate of rural areas. 

- Stone, 2012

Our weather is changing. Sydney, our home city, has experienced record-breaking heat trends over the last decade, with the summer of 2016 on track to be the hottest summer ever recorded. Our changing climate has the biggest impacts on the most vulnerable members of our communities: the elderly, infirm, very young and economically disadvantaged. 

Our neighbourhoods are also changing. Houses in Australia are getting bigger and gardens are getting smaller. Space for trees on private land is disappearing. One thing that isn’t disappearing is our streets. 

 

Streets make
up to 50% of urban areas.

Streets offer the best opportunity to increase tree canopy cover. Streets can be highly contested places, often with multiple stakeholders involved in their design and operation. Residents have limited capacity to inform or engage in the process. Cool Streets™  shares tools and information, allowing communities to lead the decision-making process for their local streets and street trees.

 

Street trees make a difference.

Tree canopy cover has been shown to be the single most effective mechanism to reduce local temperatures and cool neighbourhoods. Trees have the added benefit of storing atmospheric CO2, improving air quality and providing habitat. Libby’s research found that simple changes to the layout and type of street trees could provide 7 times the environmental benefits of a standard street design and reduce household electricity bills by over $400 per annum.

 

Cool Streets data

50%*

of urban areas are dedicated to streets

*maximum percentage

7

times more Co2 reductions than a standard street design

$400+

household cooling electricity savings over one year from an established Cool Street