Silvia G. Tavares
David Sellars
Greg Mews
Karine Dupré
Christhina Cândido
Simon Towle


The urban fabric enables people to move between climate-controlled environments (such as home and indoors work) and non-controlled ones (such as parks and beaches). The planning and design of urban spaces, on the other hand, largely define the way we live and affect our health as it can, for instance, promote or hinder active lifestyles and social cohesion (Owen, 2009; Speck, 2012). But even when the cities have compact built form and provide key features and infrastructure conducive to healthy lifestyles, local climate can indirectly dictate and restrict the use of public open spaces if the weather is prohibitive (Tavares & Swaffield, 2017). Climate responsive urban planning and design is, therefore, key to secure a healthy urban lifestyle (Barton, Thompson, Burgess, & Grant, 2015; Kent et al., 2017; Mouratidis, 2017) especially in light of frequency and severity of extreme weather events.


How to Cite
Tavares, S. G., Sellars, D., Mews, G., Dupré, K., Cândido, C. and Towle, S. (2020) “Public health and well-being in public open spaces through climate responsive urban planning and design”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(2), pp. 1–6. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i2.1279.
Author Biographies

Silvia G. Tavares, University of the Sunshine Coast

Silvia is an urban designer with a background in architecture, urbanism, and building and city science (affiliate member of the Planning Institute of Australia and registered architect and urbanist in Brazil). She lectures in urban design and town planning at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia), and prior to this appointment she worked at James Cook University (Australia), Lincoln University (New Zealand), as a visiting researcher at the ILS (Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung gGmbH) (Germany), and at the UFT (Universidade Federal do Tocantins, Brazil). In 2019 Silvia delivered a keynote address on ‘Climate Responsive Public Spaces in the Tropics: A Bioclimatic Design Approach’ at the Conference ‘L'architecture en milieu tropical: Construire le paysage, entre pratique et recherche’ at ENSAM (École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Montpellier) in La Réunion (France). Her research focuses on providing evidence to produce public open spaces that are thermally comfortable and promote the good health of users and the natural environments that surround them. Her main focus is, therefore, designing for urban thermal comfort and urban microclimates, the relationship between urban microclimates and people’s health, and the impacts of climate change on them all.

David Sellars, James Cook University

David is a Senior Lecturer (Environmental Health) employed by James Cook University and is based in Cairns. His specialty areas are Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Food Safety, Environmental Health Law, Public Health Risk Assessment, and the Environmental Determinants of Health. David came to James Cook University after a long successful career in Public Health based in North Queensland spanning almost 20 years. David has a unique perspective on Public Health challenges faced by communities in North Queensland, especially rural and remote communities.

Greg Mews, Queensland University of Technology

Greg holds an honorary adjunct position at the Health Research Institute at the University of Canberra and is on the Advisory Board for Research into Practice of The Journal for Public Space. He lectures regularly at Technical University of Berlin (Germany), Yale University (USA), University of Canberra (Australia), University of Kassel (Germany) and University of NSW (Australia). He currently workd at the School of Design at Queensland University of Technology as a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture. Greg has received several high profile research scholarships, nine work-related awards and completed his PhD on the production of space and play.
Greg is strong international voice for human-centrered urban design transcending disciplinary boundaries- in order to enable meaningful change, he founded in 2013 the international “Think and Do” Tank Urban Synergies Group (USG) that is committed to shaping healthy communities worldwide. Prior this calling, he was the Head of Project Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at the global segment market leader in sustainable play space design SIK- Holzgestaltungs GmbH based in Germany. While leading the design and innovation agenda, he advised key clients such as Playmobile Funpark and many capital cities internationally on holistic play space designs.
In the role of the Director of USG, Greg provides strategic policy advice, training and knowledge transfer to clients in international context. He is an active member of the Steering Committee at UN-Habitats World Urban Campaign. Under the conceptual approach of “Right to the City” he advocated for better health and well-being outcomes at the United Nations Habitat III conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development held in Quito (Ecuador) in 2016.

Karine Dupré, Griffith University

A/Prof. Karine Dupre is a French registered architect and urban planner, affiliated to the Planning Institute of Australia. She is the former Head of Architecture at INSA (2007-2011), Head of Griffith Architecture (2016-2017) and Undergraduate Program Director at Griffith Architecture (2014-2020). She is currently Higher Degree by Research convenor for the Engineering and Built Environment School (around 200 HDR students). Her key areas of research are design, planning, regional development, urban heat islands, climate change, resilience and policy development. She has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal/conference papers, invited/peer-reviewed book chapters, books and exhibitions/ creative installations; supervised to completion over 50 master research thesis, 5 PhDs, 3 post-doctoral fellows and currently supervises 6 PhDs.

Christhina Cândido, The University of Sydney

Dr Candido is an architect by training and she holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil) and in Environmental Science from Macquarie University (Australia). She leads the SHE (Sustainable and Healthy Environments) platform and co-leads the BOSSA (Building Occupants Survey System Australia) tool. Her research expertise and interest relate to Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE), Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), Activity-Based Working (ABW), workspace design and climate responsive design in tropical and subtropical climates. Her publication track record features research findings from field studies conducted in school, residential and office buildings in Australia and Brazil.

Simon Towle, The Cairns Institute, James Cook University

Simon Towle is an adjunct research fellow at The Cairns Institute at James Cook University. His research interests include identifying and mitigating the impacts of climate change with the people of Tuvalu and Manus, and the impact of the criminalization of Alcohol Management Plans on the social, emotional and economic wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Queensland.


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