Researching the impacts of urban heat on vulnerable communities

City of Canterbury-Bankstown

Canterbury-Bankstown Urban Heat Report

As urban temperatures continue to rise in Canterbury-Bankstown and in cities across the world and the number of extreme heat days increases annually, urban cooling strategies can help sustain community health and maintain liveability.

Urban areas such as the City of Canterbury-Bankstown local government area typically experience higher temperatures compared to non-urban areas due to reduced vegetation and increased use of materials that reflect less and absorb more of the sun’s energy (such as concrete and dark paving and roofing). Addressing urban heat is central to achieving the Canterbury-Bankstown community’s vision of creating a liveable city with a sustainable green environment that supports a healthy and prosperous community.

Cred was engaged to prepare a study of urban heat and the urban heat island effect within the LGA, including spatial mapping of land surface temperatures and urban tree canopy in relation to community climate resilience and heat vulnerability. The background report was to form the data-based foundation of a larger ongoing project around resilience.


Our approach

We applied a comprehensive suite of methodologies to understand what urban heat is and what Council’s role is in addressing urban heat. It included a spatial heat vulnerability mapping assessment of how urban heat is distributed and hotspots across the City, including how and where urban heat may be impacting on residents who may be more vulnerable, such as the elderly, children and lower socio- economic groups.

The study found that the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA is characterised by a highly culturally and socially diverse community with a relatively heat-vulnerable population compared to other areas in Sydney because it has a higher proportion of babies and toddlers, a higher proportion of people in need of assistance due to disability, and more low income households, social housing households and people living alone.

Cred’s Urban Heat Study methodology.

The outcome

Based on the evidence-base, the study has laid out a roadmap of actions Council can undertake to mitigate the impacts of urban heat based on five strategic themes:

  • increased greening
  • increased water in the landscape
  • increased use of cool materials
  • policy and planning controls that prioritise resilience
  • education, engagement and partnerships.


Through the recently adopted Local Strategic Planning Statement, Council has committed to planning for a cool urban environment including through a connected blue and green network and an increased tree canopy.