RMIT University brings Citizen Science Project to Bayswater

Dr Mary Myla Andamon, Cr Dan Bull (Mayor, City of Bayswater) and Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan, seen here with the testing and recording equipment.   Dr Mary Myla Andamon and Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan are from RMIT University (Sustainable Building Innovation Lab, School of Property, Construction and Project Management). Photo: David Baylis
Dr Mary Myla Andamon, Cr Dan Bull (Mayor, City of Bayswater) and Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan, seen here with the testing and recording equipment. Dr Mary Myla Andamon and Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan are from RMIT University (Sustainable Building Innovation Lab, School of Property, Construction and Project Management). Photo: David Baylis

RMIT University researchers engaged City of Bayswater residents in measuring climate in the Bayswater wetlands area as part its Citizen Science Project this week.

Bayswater is the first WA council to take part in the university’s joint project with the University of New South Wales.

It aims to educate citizens about factors influencing outdoor microclimates, helping them understand, mitigate and adapt to extreme heat and local climate change.

Associate Professor Priya Rajagopalan and researcher Mary Myla Andamon have worked with 22 councils across Australia and will be completing measurements for all councils by the end of March.

The duo have conducted workshops with 35 residents at Environment House in Bayswater from February 26 to 28.

Dr Mary Myla Andamon talks to residents. Photo: David Baylis

Results can assist policymakers in predicting future health and energy needs and planning the urban built environment and open space.

Dr Rajagopalan said they contacted Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish to invite the City to participate in the project.

“The number of extreme hot days is predicted to increase significantly over the next few decades in all Australian cities with detrimental impacts on public health, mortality rates, energy demand, infrastructure and economy,” she said.

“Cities of concrete and stone, and roads paved with asphalt create heat islands that can be significantly hotter than temperatures in the surrounding suburban and rural areas.

“A detrimental effect of urban heat island in many cities is the elevated temperatures which can be dangerous for some vulnerable city dwellers.

“This makes life uncomfortable, can lead to health problems such as heat stroke and increase energy use and air conditioning costs needed to keep our buildings cool inside.”

She said the next step was for citizens to contribute to data collection through a mobile app, thermal comfort tool and mitigation tool.

Mayor Dan Bull said the results could guide the City’s future planning policies such as tree planting, building materials and designing town centres to mitigate the effects of urban heat islands.

The project will be completed by the end of 2019.