Councils support UNSW to create Skyparks garden for a cool learning environment

26 July 2022

UNSW is joining forces with Randwick City and Waverley Councils to establish a SkyParks garden at its Kensington campus.

SkyParks is a Greening our City initiative that involves establishing gardens in under-utilised urban spaces at key sites in Sydney’s eastern suburbs to research the benefits of greening including cooling benefits, energy savings and improved air and water quality.

Greening our City is proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Local Government NSW.

The UNSW SkyPark will be installed at the university’s SquareHouse building, transforming one of its outdoor spaces into an inviting and adaptable space that can be used for learning.

An artist's impression of the soon-to-be installed SkyPark at UNSW.

It will advance research to help develop cost-effective methods for greening and cooling our urban spaces at a time during the pandemic where the community increasingly values green and adaptable, flexible and well-ventilated spaces.

Dean of the School of Art, Design and Architecture, Professor Clare Annesley said harnessing available space on built structures for innovative landscape designs will help cool and green the campus and make it a more welcoming place to live, work and visit.

“The University is committed to attracting students back onto campus, and providing inviting and innovative learning environments can improve students learning experience, but also support their health and wellbeing,” Professor Annesley said.

The University will be installing equipment to monitor weather and environmental conditions at the UNSW SkyPark to better understand the benefits and requirements for greening built-up spaces, and plan to incorporate the project into cross disciplinary curriculum.

“This could include students assisting in the quantification of cooling benefits, energy savings, improved air and water quality as well as the social and community benefits of rooftop gardens,” Professor Annesley said.

Randwick City Deputy Mayor, Kym Chapple, said Randwick Council is excited to support the SkyParks project which has already created unique social and visual spaces in the commercial and shopping districts in Waverley.

“We are keen to apply that thinking to the proposed developments in our area to explore how new construction can contribute to cooling, biodiversity habitat and climate resilience at the local scale,” Deputy Mayor Chapple said.

“Ambitious projects to deliver significant carbon reductions need to happen sooner rather than later. Retrofitting existing exposed spaces in the built environment offers a huge opportunity for metropolitan councils and their communities to achieve sustainability and greening targets.”

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, welcomed the addition of a new SkyPark to the initial suite of award-winning gardens at Westfield Bondi Junction.

“These living labs embody the innovation and sense of community that is needed to help us achieve sustainable and climate resilient cities,” Mayor Masselos said.

“They will also help us achieve our community target of net zero emission by 2035, as this cooling would hopefully mean less reliance on air conditioning.

“We look forward to the creation of even more gardens in the sky and utlising opportunities to grow plants on top of built structures as temperatures likely increase further under projected climate change.”

Media enquiries via Randwick Council:
Joshua Hay – 0402 351 459 or
Chelsea Hunter – 0419 694 983 or