Living through extreme weather events and natural disasters: How resilient are our high-rise high-density typologies?

Kennedy, Rosemary J., Hughes, Ashley, Liu, Sze, Paulsrud, Marita, North, Peter, & Lewis, James (2012) Living through extreme weather events and natural disasters: How resilient are our high-rise high-density typologies? In Crowhurst Lennard, Suzanne H. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 49th International Making Cities Livable Conference on True Urbanism: Planning Healthy Communities for All, International Making Cities Livable Council, Governor Hotel, Portland, OR.

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The inner city Brisbane suburbs of the West End peninsula are poised for redevelopment. Located within walking distance to CBD workplaces, home to Queensland’s highest value cultural precinct, and high quality riverside parklands, there is currently a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop parts of the suburb to create a truly urban neighbourhood. According to a local community association, local residents agree and embrace the concept of high-density living, but are opposed to the high-rise urban form (12 storeys) advocated by the City’s planning authority (BCC, 2011) and would prefer to see medium-rise (5-8 storeys) medium-density built form.

Brisbane experienced a major flood event which inundated the peninsula suburbs of West End in summer January 2011. The vulnerability of taller buildings to the vagaries of climate and more extreme weather events and their reliance on main electricity was exposed when power outages immediately before, during and after the flood disaster seriously limited occupants’ access and egress when elevators were disabled. Not all buildings were flooded but dwellings quickly became unliveable due to disabled air-conditioning. Some tall buildings remained uninhabitable for several weeks after the event.

This paper describes an innovative design research method applied to the complex problem of resilient, sustainable neighbourhood form in subtropical cities, in which a thorough comparative analysis of a range of multiple-dwelling types has revealed the impact that government policy regarding design of the physical environment has on a community’s resilience.

The outcomes advocate the role of climate-responsive design in averting the rising human capital and financial costs of natural disasters and climate change.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 54274
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Further information about the 49th IMCL Conference maybe found at
Additional URLs:
Keywords: subtropical climate, multi-storey apartment buildings, resilience, liveability, cross-ventilation, natural disaster, power outage, CEDM
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural Design (120101)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > Schools > School of Design
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The Authors
Deposited On: 24 Oct 2012 00:19
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2016 20:26

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