Out west of Sydney it gets hot. Really hot. Like 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) hot. Stand in a car park and the radiant heat from the tarmac can push the mercury to 80C—approaching the temperature of a slow cooker.
It’s these new suburbs that the government is banking on to accommodate almost half of the 1.8 million people who are expected to swell the city’s population over the next 20 years.
Once a place of sweeping plains, eucalyptus trees and cottage farms, the area is changing rapidly. Housing estates are rising for those pushed out by the center’s high property prices. A new airport is slated to open in 2026, along with a huge industrial precinct.
What the glossy brochures fail to mention is the challenges that come with living in a region where the number of days over 35C—a level dangerous even for the fit and well—is forecast to keep rising as global temperatures increase.
“Australia is ahead of the curve when it comes to warming,” said Liz Hanna, an expert in heat and health at Australian National University. “We need to be really serious about not having houses where people sit and cook and die.”