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Hot in the City: Climate and health in urban environments

6 April 2017

University of Sydney researchers discuss how we can protect and promote health in the face of climate change.

Sydneysiders have just sweltered through the hottest summer on record.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the mean summer temperature in the city was about three degrees above average.

So how is climate change affecting our health?

What are the best options for managing the heat, and how will this influence the choices we make in the future?

Professor of Planetary Health Dr Tony Capon said: “With Sydney's population set to grow to more than 8 million people in the coming decades, how can we keep the city and its residents cool? 

“At the moment, we are installing lots of air conditioners to cope with summer heat waves.  Are there alternatives?  Perhaps we should be growing more trees and using more fans?”

While cranking up the air-conditioner can bring some relief, these units use vast amounts of electricity and are big contributors to climate change.

What are the safest and most environmentally-friendly ways to improve comfort and productivity, and reduce the stress on the body during hot summer months?

Thermoregulatory physiologist Dr Ollie Jay from the Faculty of Health Sciences said heat waves are responsible for more deaths every year than all other natural disasters combined including earthquakes, cyclones and floods.

“Strategies that focus on cooling the person as opposed to the space around them can be as effective at protecting against heat strain and heat-related reductions in work productivity while being much cheaper and more environmentally friendly,” he said.

Join University of Sydney experts at Hot in the City Sydney Ideas forum on 6 April as they discuss the urgent need to build resilience in the face of climate change.


·        Dr Tony Capon, Professor of Planetary Health, Sydney School of Public Health, Researcher of Climate Adaptation & Health Project Node, Charles Perkins Centre

·        Dr Ollie Jay, Thermoregulatory Physiologist and Director of Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, Faculty of Health Sciences; Lead Researcher of Climate Adaptation & Health Project Node, Charles Perkins Centre

·        Dr Adrienne Keane, Director, Master of Urbanism, Urban Planning and Policy, Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning

·        Dr Jennifer Mae Hamilton, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Gender and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Event details

When: 6.00pm - 7.30pm

Where: Lecture Theatre 4002 (Messel), Sydney Nanoscience Hub, Physics Road, University of Sydney

Cost: Free and open to all with registration requested.

RSVP: Register here

Kobi Print

Media and PR Adviser (Medicine and Health)