Dr Silvia Tavares | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Silvia Tavares

PhD Lincoln University, MSc UFRGS, BArch UFPel

  • Senior Lecturer, Urban Design and Town Planning
  • School of Law and Society
+61 (7) 5456 5884
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Silvia Tavares

Dr Silvia Tavares is an urban designer with a background in architecture, urbanism, and building and city science (affiliate member of PIA and registered architect and urbanist in Brazil). She is the founder and co-leader of UniSC’s Bioclimatic and Sociotechnical Cities Lab (BASC Lab) and is chief investigator in several projects focused on improving urban climate through design and planning. These projects aim to inform strategies related to human thermal comfort, green infrastructure, public health, and climate change impacts.

Dr Tavares has extensive teaching experience both in studio-based and theory-based subjects in architecture, urban planning, urban design, building and city science and landscape architecture. She is particularly interested in pedagogies supporting knowledge transfer between urban climate science and urban design and planning practices. She also strives to encourage students’ critical thinking and support them in developing as future professionals.

Before UniSC, Dr Tavares worked at James Cook University (Australia), Lincoln University (New Zealand), as a visiting researcher at the ILS (Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung gGmbH) (Germany), and at the UFT (Universidade Federal do Tocantins, Brazil).

Professional Social media:

Professional Memberships

  • PIA – Planning Institute of Australia Affiliate (Acad.) Member
  • Laboratório da Habitação e Inovação – Lab+Hab at Universidade Estadual do Maranhão, São Luis, Brazil
  • CAU-RS – Architecture and Urbanism Accreditation in Brazil

Awards / Fellowships

  • Microclimate Design Research Global Network (MDRGN) Faculty Fellow, Texas A&M, 2023.
  • UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign Urban Thinkers Campus: Urban livability in tropical Australia through urban diaries and community engagement, 2018
  • PIA Queensland Award for Planning Excellence Category: Public Engagement & Community Planning Award Project: Urban Thinkers Campus – Urban Health & Livability in Tropical Australia, 2018
  • JCU TropEco Partnerships and Engagement Award (Highly Commended) Project: Urban Thinkers Campus – Urban Health & Livability in Tropical Australia, 2018
  • Fulbright Specialist Program (Host Institution) / Project: Promoting urban livability in tropical Australia through urban diaries and community engagement, 2018

Research grants

Grant/Project Name Investigators Funding body  Year
Urban Microclimates of Noosa Tavares, S.; Stevens, N.; Abuseif, M. Noosa Shire Council 2023
How cool are our green urban forests? Tavares, S.; Stevens, N.; Leon, J.; Abuseif, M. Sunshine Coast Council 2022
Urban Design Solutions for Ameliorating Urban Heat Island Effect in Townsville Tavares, S.; Dupré, K.; Abuseif, M. Townsville City Council 2019


Current PhD Students

  • Ryan McNeilly Smith - Developing bioclimatic urban planning and design policy for the public realm
  • Jiawei Fu - Optimised Street Green Strategy to Mitigate Urban Heat: A Case Study of Townsville and Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  • Tobias Volbert - Inclusive Design beyond Accessibility: Establishing an approach for 7 Senses main streets to optimise urban comfort for everyone

Potential research topics for HDR and Honours students

  • Urban microclimate modelling
  • Relationship between urban morphology and urban microclimates
  • Urban climate analysis based on Local Climate Zones (LCZ)
  • Urban air pollution and their impact on urban microclimate
  • Urban noise and community wellbeing
  • Knowledge transfer between urban climate science, and urban planning and design practices

Research areas

  • Urban microclimate design
  • Urban microclimate modelling
  • Bioclimatic Urbanism
  • Urban Design for human health and comfort
  • Urban Planning policy for improved microclimates
  • Urban heat islands and heatwaves

Teaching areas

  • Urban Design Studio (in multiple scales)
  • Urban Design and Planning History and Theory
  • Building and City Science

Selected Research Publications

  • Boulton, C., Baldwin, C., Matthews, T., & Tavares, S. G. (2023). Environmental Design for Urban Cooling, Access, and Safety: A Novel Approach to Auditing Outdoor Areas in Residential Aged Care Facilities. Land, 12(514). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020514
  • Tavares, S. G., Sellars, D., Dupré, K., & Mews, G. H. (2022). Implementation of the New Urban Agenda on a local level: an effective community engagement methodology for human-centred urban design. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 00(00), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/17549175.2021.2021972
  • Stevens, N. J., Tavares, S. G., & Salmon, P. M. (2021). The adaptive capacity of public space under COVID‐19: Exploring urban design interventions through a sociotechnical systems approach. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries, 31, 333–348. https://doi.org/10.1002/hfm.20906
  • Fu, J., Dupre, K., Tavares, S. G., & King, D. (2021). Optimized greenery configuration to mitigate urban heat: A decade systematic review. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 11(3), 466–491. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foar.2021.12.005
  • Stevens, N. J., & Tavares, S. G. (2020). Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on public spaces through a systems modelling approach. The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), 191–206. https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v5i3.1377
  • Lenzholzer, S., Carsjens, G.-J., Brown, R. D., Tavares, S. G., Vanos, J., Kim, Y., & Lee, K. (2020). Urban climate awareness and urgency to adapt: An international overview. Urban Climate, 33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2020.100667
  • Lenzholzer, S., Carsjens, G.-J., Brown, R. D., Tavares, S. G., Vanos, J., Kim, Y., & Lee, K. (2020). Awareness of urban climate adaptation strategies: An international overview. Urban Climate, 34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.uclim.2020.100705
  • Tavares, S. G., Sellars, D., Mews, G., Dupré, K., & Towle, S. (2020). Public health and well-being in public open spaces through climate responsive urban planning and design. The Journal of Public Space, 5(2), 1–6. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v5i2.1279
  • Tavares, S. G., Swaffield, S., & Stewart, E. (2019) A case-based methodology for investigating urban comfort through interpretive research and microclimate analysis in post-earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand. Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 46 (4). pp. 731-750.
  • Tavares, S. G. (2018) Public microclimates: thermal outdoor expectations in post-earthquake Christchurch (New Zealand). In: The Urban Microclimate as Artifact: towards an architectural theory of thermal diversity. Birkhäuser, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 82-100.
  • Tavares, S. G. & Swaffield, S. (2017) Urban comfort in a future compact city: analysis of open-space qualities in the rebuilt Christchurch Central City. Landscape Review, 17(2). pp. 5-23.

Dr Silvia Tavares' specialist areas of knowledge include urban comfort, urban microclimates, bioclimatic urban design, human thermal comfort, and urban design

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