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CAPS- Climate Adapted People Shelter

Creating the space for researchers and collaborators to connect and create climate adapted people shelters.

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Tell us your story.

I was born and bred on an island, I’m a shearer’s daughter, I hate waste, I love problem solving and see opportunities that can be progressed with the right collaborators, timing and intent.

I've been interested in Design Thinking for about 5 years and have contributed to OPEN IDEO, local design thinking crash courses and other design thinking workshops when I can get in the door. I rang an open innovation lecturer in Sydney and said I'd loved their practical design thinking labs that solved real city problems. I asked if there was an opportunity to do something together and that my expertise was in sustainability and environment. He had a chat with colleagues and we got started.

How did you get into this work?

I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to help get the CAPS project connected with partners and collaborators.

What are you working on?

CAPS is the Climate Adapted People Shelter project - a design competition to reimagine current bus shelters to be smart and adapted to increasing urban heat in Western Sydney.

Current bus shelters are seldom designed with ‘shelter’ in mind; their location and construction is predicated on a business model that focuses on visibility for the placement of advertising, safety concerns and the operational needs of bus services. Their users including elderly, school kids and the urban poor are increasingly exposed to urban heat and other weather extremes, like storms and intense rainfall. CAPS is focusing attention on more integrated and smart city transport options and innovative designs for the old bus shelter.

I've still got 6 weeks to get all the connections finalised and to run the first round of workshops. We're getting users, stakeholders and governments into workshops to talk about their experiences with public transport, buses and what stops them using it. They'll be a series of 15 minute cafe style activity in small groups over a 2 hour session. We'll run these in 4 different council locations. At the end of these 4 workshops we'll take all the user findings and look for insights, we expect some insights to be clear at the end of each workshop but we're on the look out for wherever they appear. This is the first stage with the Design Competition to reimagine Western Sydney bus shelters being launched in November 2015.

What's a climate issue you'd like to solve?

Over the past 100 years, heat waves have caused more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard. By 2030, Western Sydney is projected to experience up to 7 additional days above 35°C per year placing exposed communities, including Sydney’s 600,000 daily bus users, at heightened risk.

How to design a shelter that is cool, and safe, while supporting researchers to document new shelter effectiveness which is expected to inform future urban planning and climate adaptation strategies. Shelter infrastructure is worth hundreds of millions and is renewed every 10 to 20 years, the opportunity to do this better for our most vulnerable citizens is huge. I expect a climate adapted shelter will also be usable by the community for more than buses while also being accessible for any future integrated transport options developed. Maybe the same shelter is also enabled for any transport options, cycling, walking, taxi, ride sharing, public and private buses, electric vehicles, and driverless vehicles.

Why is storytelling important to you?

Story telling is about connection, it's how you create emotion, while describing practical and empowering things that people can do. It's about showing anyone that we are all story tellers, we all have super powers and when we find it, it is then important to share it. The obvious way to do this is story telling. This could be 30 second 'pitches', tweets, art, blog posts, letters to the editor or telling your friends over dinner. It's diverse and is best matched to your preferred communication style.

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