Cooling the City - Cavenagh Street heat mitigation (Darwin)


  • The Darwin City heat mitigation initiative is part of the boarder ‘Creating a Better Darwin’ campaign for which the vision is to create a greener, cooler, modern tropical city.
  • The NT Government commissioned the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to conduct a study of inner-city heat, humidity and wind movement. 
  • Subsequently, several greening and cooling initiatives will be trialled as part of the program to revitalise the Darwin Central Business District (CBD).

‘The community, economic and health benefits of well shaded streets is now well understood and it is great to see the commitment by all levels of Government and the private sector to transforming our city. Shady parks and streets should be considered essential infrastructure in our city.’

- Tony Cox, Registered Landscape Architect, Director of Clouston Associates Darwin

Cavenagh Street heat mitigation trial 

Stage 1: Shade Structure and Tree Planting

This location was selected following the heat study which showed Cavenagh Street to be one of the hottest locations in the CBD, with surface temperatures exceeding 60 degrees in some locations. Research supported by Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) tells us the more trees positioned along footpath network, the more likely people are to walk and utilise these spaces. Thus, the walkability of the Darwin CBD will be enhanced.  If deemed successful, there is the potential for mitigation methods to be used in other locations, positioning the Northern Territory as a global leader in heat mitigation projects and research in tropical regions.

Stage 2: Tree Planting and ‘Cool’ Pavements

Further works to mitigate heat impacts on Cavenagh St are expected to be completed by May 2019, including:

  • The planting of 29 new shaded trees in specially designed tree pits to support large shady canopies
  • Excavation and construction of median garden beds for tree planting and groundcover
  • Light coloured and heat reflective road surface treatments to reduce pavement surface temperatures
  • Overall reduction in extent of asphalt
Proposed shade structure across Cavenagh Street, Darwin. Image source:

State Square rejuvenation project 

The State Square asphalt carparks have been found to generate high temperatures, with prevailing winds blowing this heat through the city centre. A new underground carpark is being constructed next to Parliament House which will allow existing carparks in the area to be greened. In addition to the positive environmental impacts of green space, HAbD research suggests open public spaces are associated with increased walking for recreation, highlighting the broader health benefits to the public from urban parks. 

For further details regarding ‘Creating a Better Darwin’ heat mitigation and associated projects, please follow this link