Faced with global warming, Australia aims to wean itself from mechanical approaches to cooling homes. Cities are searching for passive solutions to residential development. These involve the use of porches, basements, natural ventilation, tree shading and the like. In 2016, the Brisbane City Council introduced the New World City Design Guide: Buildings that Breathe (BtB), a non-binding policy document to guide new development in a subtropical climate. The aim of this study was to establish the effectiveness of BtB on overall development outcomes in Brisbane. We found that development applications received after the implementation of the BtB policy incorporated more subtropical design elements than those applications received before the policy. However, overall designers and developers had responded poorly to subtropical design guidance due to various path dependencies. We conclude that discretionary and flexible planning may not be in the public interest in the present era of climate emergency.
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Abstract included in PLA’s Research Connections article in Parks and Leisure Australia Vol 23.2 Winter 2020