Researchers and industry are crossing their fingers for $45 million in federal government funding to help make Australian cities healthier and more sustainable.
Deo Prasad, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Future Cities, said the group would consider cities’ resilience to rising temperatures.
About $45 million has already been pledged by industry, councils and state governments, with a possible aim of reducing emissions by 10 to 15 megatonnes.
Professor Prasad said the research group would look at “hot spots”, such as hospitals and shopping centres, to help with better design and planning.
“It’s not just about having more parking, because that means more cars, but looking at other elements including behaviour and incentives to see how different options of policy might lead to change,” he told AAP.
“Ultimately it’s about the health and wellbeing of people in cities.”
The initiative was launched from the conclusion of another cooperative research centre, which looked at how to achieve low carbon lifestyles.
The CRC for Low Carbon Living finished its seven-year tenure last month, leaving a legacy of instructive guides and research on the BuiltBetter website.
“There is a whole range of guide documents to help people live low carbon lifestyles and to also save money,” Prof Prasad said.
The centre’s projects included roofing materials that don’t absorb heat made by BlueScope and trials for a geopolymer concrete which emits about one-third of the emissions of regular concrete.
Prof Prasad hoped the research could help local companies create and export products which will make cities across the globe resilient.
The centre’s work resulted in numerous policy recommendations, products and building codes in aid of its goal to reduce emissions by 10 megatonnes by 2020.
“We have made a significant dent in terms of reduction of carbon, enabling evidence for better policies, better design and planning and also products to market,” Prof Prasad said.
If the proposal makes it to a shortlist in September, a final funding decision will be known by December.