FLIR image showing concentration of heat in a Western Sydney neighbourhood.
FLIR image showing concentration of heat in a Western Sydney neighbourhood. Image: Dr Sebastian Pfautsch

The Foreground five: Our most-read stories in December

In December, the extreme conditions of Australia’s summer drove sharp interest among our readers in urban heat and how communities can drive bottom-up responses to disaster.

1.  Extreme measures: An ecologist’s urban sensors show us just how hot Western Sydney is getting
Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is working with Penrith City Council to quantify temperatures in what is fast becoming one of the world’s hottest cities. His hope? An urgent change in the way we design our cities.

2. From placemaking to place survival: Experts and the new community activism
In the face of government inaction, communities are mobilising to develop their own plans to survive the threats of climate change. At a summit in Brisbane, built environment professionals shared how they are working to help their own community, and looking to empower others.


3. Take ten: Foreground’s most-read stories in 2019
As 2019 ends and Australia burns, climate change is searing itself into global consciousness. But if environmental trauma was the backdrop to many of 2019’s top stories, these also provide hopeful examples of how designers are scaling up their thinking to grapple with systemic change.

4. How to design with nature now
Andrew Revkin reflects on Ian McHarg’s influential Design With Nature, finding enduring lessons for tackling today’s many environmental crises 50 years on from its initial publication.

5. Cultural movement: what can dance tell us about place?
Choreographer and dancer Amrita Hepi and landscape architect Claire Winsor explore what dance and movement can teach us about place, memory and communication in a new commission from the Kevin Taylor Legacy grant.