UNSW to create SkyParks garden for a cool learning environment

04 Aug 2022
UNSW to create SkyParks garden for a cool learning environment

UNSW is joining forces with Randwick City and Waverley Councils to establish a SkyParks garden on the Kensington campus.

Funded by the NSW Government, the Greening Our City program supports local councils across Greater Sydney to increase urban greening by enhancing tree canopy in local parks, streets, and neighbourhoods. More trees mean more shade, cooler suburbs and attractive places to live and work. 

As part of the Greening Our City initiative, UNSW is collaborating with Randwick and Waverley councils on project ‘SkyParks’ to research cooling and greening at the SquareHouse terraces, which are located on UNSW’s Kensington campus. 

The University will transform a SquareHouse balcony into an inviting and adaptable space that can be used for learning. This initiative will help advance research to help develop cost-effective methods for the greening cooling of under-utilised urban spaces.  

“SkyParks is a pilot project aimed at greening our existing rooftop and balcony spaces. Through a series of pilot sites, we hope to identify the barriers, benefits, and ultimately best practice solutions to adapting our existing buildings”, said Alexander Georgouras, researcher from UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture

UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture Dean, Professor Claire Annesley, said harnessing the space available on built structures for innovative landscape designs can make our built environments cooler, greener and enhance the University as a welcoming place to study, live, work and visit.    

“We will install equipment to monitor the weather and environmental conditions to better understand the benefits and requirements for greening built-up spaces and plan to incorporate the project into a cross-disciplinary curriculum. This could include students assisting in the quantification of cooling benefits, energy savings, improved air and water quality, as well as the social and community benefits of rooftop gardens,” said Prof. Annesley. 

Randwick City Deputy Mayor, Kym Chapple, said Randwick Council is excited to support the SkyParks project which has already created unique social and visual spaces in the commercial and shopping districts in Waverley.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, welcomed the addition of a new SkyPark to the initial suite of award-winning gardens at Westfield Bondi Junction adding, “these living labs embody the innovation and sense of community that is needed to help us achieve sustainable and climate resilient cities.”

“They will also help us achieve our community target of net zero emission by 2035, as this cooling would hopefully mean less reliance on air conditioning.”

To find out more about this initiative click here.