Inaugural Science Symposium

Urban Design and Heat Mitigation in the Tropics

In December 2019, the Darwin Living Lab hosted the first Science Symposium in Darwin.

The Symposium brought together leading experts in heat mitigation and urban design from across Australia with local knowledge experts. Experts explored opportunities to cool Darwin and improve life in the tropical city.


The Symposium was held over two days:

  • Day 1 Science meets Practice – linked national and global best practice with local knowledge experts to explore opportunities in Darwin’s for creating a “thriving, cool capital of the north”.
  • Day 2 Darwin Living Lab Deep Dive – local experts explored the initial projects for the Darwin Living Lab to identify how the Lab’s activities could help achieve the vision for Darwin.

The Symposium attracted more than 75 participants on Day 1 and 50 participants on Day 2. Attendees included staff from the Australian and Northern Territory governments, architects, planners, environmentalists, private sector, community groups and university researchers.


  • Participants’ explored the Cooling Darwin Strategy and how the Darwin Living Lab concept can help identify and test innovations for improving comfort in Darwin’s buildings and public spaces.
  • Presenters’ highlighted the challenges and opportunities of living in Darwin’s climate, while also identifying existing initiatives underway to improve Darwin’s liveability and how the Living Lab can build upon these.
  • Participants’ explored responses to cooling and building design in other tropical cities that might be adapted to the Darwin context. Discussions during the Symposium highlighted the importance of cooling initiatives considering the values and knowledge of the Darwin community, particularly the Larrakia Traditional Owners.
  • Panel discussions explored how approaches to tropical urban design can be embedded in policy and practice.

Do you want to see more?

The links below have more detailed information on the Darwin Living Lab Symposium: