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New platform maps Bendigo’s urban hot spots

A new smart technology platform launched in Bendigo will help residents keep their cool this summer by mapping the location of urban hot spots.

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the platform integrates maps of land surface temperatures from satellites, Google Street View and temperature sensors.

“The temptation to drive everywhere in summer is strong but sedentary habits have a negative impact on personal health,” Minister Tudge said.

“This platform will allow the residents of Bendigo to walk the dog, go for a jog or engage in other outdoor activities while also avoiding the worst of the hot weather.

“The platform will enable a more active, informed public, who are prepared for extreme temperatures.”

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson, who represented Minister Tudge at the launch (and who is the Patron Senator for Bendigo), said heat in urban areas varied widely.

“This project is an innovative and clever way to keep the Bendigo community safe during summer,” Senator Henderson said.

“The platform will help pedestrians and cyclists understand how their route will expose them to extreme temperatures.

“Innovative solutions such as this help boost community resilience to heat and extreme weather.”

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said data and technology can dramatically improve city planning and approaches to managing climate change.

“We have been able to understand where our streets are hottest and coolest, which will help us to reduce hot spots by planting trees and cooling the city,” Cr O’Rourke said.

“This will be helpful in improving the overall health and wellbeing of pedestrians, particularly vulnerable people such as the very young, elderly and disabled.

“We appreciate the opportunity to be a test site for this leading technology and data collection, and look forward to our community benefiting in the long term and using the information collected to enhance our overall liveability.”

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Associate Professor Marco Amati said heat stress in Australia caused an annual productivity loss of $9.1 billion per year, with inland regional towns being particularly vulnerable.

“The Shadeways digital platform puts information about the cool areas in a city in the hands of people, enabling them to map a cooler route through the City of Greater Bendigo,” Dr Amati said.

“This platform will give users the ability to stay outside and take part in active travel for longer periods of the day.

“Solving issues like this in our cities is best done when researchers and innovators work closely with both local communities and governments to ensure the solutions we have developed are relevant and supported to succeed.”

The $248,235 project received $118,235 in funding through the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

The remainder of the funding was provided by the following funding partners: RMIT, La Trobe University, City of Greater Bendigo, Shanghai Qijing Planning Architecture and Design, and Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd.

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