Virtual Reality explores real-world solutions to Urban Heat Island Effect

20 October 2022

Put on a pair of Virtual Reality goggles and experience how small changes to our urban environment can make a big difference to a burning issue.

Division 2 Councillor Nicole Jonic said two virtual reality experiences about urban heat island effect would be held in Ipswich Central and Ripley as part of the Sustainable Ipswich program.

“This is a collaboration between Ipswich City Council, Griffith University and the University of the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Jonic said.

“This interactive experience shows how urban surfaces such as concrete and roads absorb and retain heat, making urban areas hotter and hotter – even dangerous during heatwaves.

“The 10-minute simulation created from local data then explores how different design elements can help cool the urban area and contribute to a more sustainable and liveable city.”

Griffith University Professor Karine Dupre said the VR experience would help researchers understand how urban cooling measures change people’s experience of a space and which solutions they prefer.

“For example, how do they feel if we added 100 trees along the street or shade structures?” Professor Dupre said.

“This will help provide guidance around what could be implemented in these different places where urban heat island effect is an issue.”

University of the Sunshine Coast Dr Silvia Tavares said the VR experience formed part of a three-year collaborative project that has included heat mapping using sensors in various locations across Ipswich.

“Urban Heat Island Effect is an important issue for all cities and urban areas because it has a range of health and wellbeing impacts,” Dr Tavares said.

“This event has modelled specific Ipswich locations, but the findings are important for urban areas across South-East Queensland.”

Sign up for the free virtual reality experience at Faye Carr Park, Ripley on Saturday 29 October.

Go to to register.