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Frankston Resilience Mapping with Sweltering Cities

Act on Climate's first community resilience mapping activity saw highly engaged attendees develop innovative, clear, and ambitious climate adaptation ideas for Frankston. The collective facilitated this activity at Sweltering Cities' HeatSafe Frankston event in February.

Good climate resilience strategies that keep community members safe - this is the outcome of Community Resilience Mapping. The activity aids the exploration and understanding of a specific area's risk to climate impacts. It identifies the residents most at risk, where a community's has strong climate resilience, and where the gaps are in its climate impact readiness.

We're offering support to anyone who wants to facilitate the activity in their own community. Check out our Submission Making Party Facilitation Guide, which you can use to guide the running of your own event!

Read on for more about how Frankston mapped its community resilience and the outcomes.


Community Resilience Mapping is used to achieve good climate resilience. Through community members brainstorming strategies that keep community members safe.

  • Helps inform adaptation and emergency response plans & the prioritisation of time and resources
  • Results in practical community-led solutions & knowledge of how can stay safe

Through identifying: 

  1. Exposures: various climate impacts
  2. Sensitivities: who/which areas most at risk
  3. Assets: what already in place to reduce impacts
  4. Adaptive Capacity: where are the gaps

This activity was adapted from the Climate Resilience Project.

Read more on what community resilience mapping is and why to do it.


HeatSafe Frankston event

The Act on Climate collective facilitated this community resilience mapping activity at Sweltering Cities' HeatSafe Frankston event on Tuesday 27th February 2024. Frankston local community advocate Alison Cooke was supported by Sweltering Cities and Co-Power to hold the event, which was focused on the impact of increasing temperatures and frequency of heatwaves on the Frankston community.

In Alison's words, "The event brought together community leaders, medical professionals, local council, and environmental advocates to talk about what the ingredients are to build a “heat-safe” community."

Alison Cooke opened the meeting and set the scene by stating some truths and issues that the community faces, such as Australia had almost 50 cities being the hottest in the world on one day recently, global terrestrial and marine heatwave records are tumbling all over the world, and 2023 was the hottest year on the planet – ever. 

Sophie Emder of Sweltering Cities, a national health NGO based in Melbourne, spoke about their work with communities in Australia’s hottest suburbs, campaigning and advocating for more liveable, equitable and sustainable cities. Claire Harvey spoke to the current actions in the FCC’s Climate Change Strategy (adopted by Council last year) that aims to deliver 57 actions over seven years through to 2030, including:

  • supporting community programs focused on building emergency preparedness and resilience to the impacts of climate change, particularly with residents most at risk.
  • supporting community programs to connect people, increase their knowledge of the climate emergence and provide skills for effective advocacy and action. 

Dr Genevieve Cowan spoke about her advocacy and outlined the effects of heatwaves on people and pets. She noted that extreme heat kills more Australians than any other climate disaster for some key reasons – one is that most of our buildings are not designed or built for extreme heat in Australia.


Frankston Mapping its Resilience to Heat

A community heat sensitivity mapping exercise was led by the collective’s co-community organisers, Alee and Vicky, and collective members, Molly, Miriam, and Marine.

The community resilience mapping activity brainstormed strategies for keeping the local community safe during heatwaves specifically. Firstly, the community's sensitivities, who/which areas are most at risk, were brainstormed, then the community's assets, what is already in place to reduce impacts, was brainstormed. This led to the identification of gaps and actions.

"This process provided an exciting and engaging way to identify heatwave-related gaps and opportunities based on their identification of the communities’ vulnerabilities and existing assets.

"The participants were very engaged in the brainstorming and feedback process and confidently identify areas for action/follow-up in climate adaptation, particularly efforts to identify and better support the more vulnerable members of our communities (e.g. renters, the elderly, those with disability or living with chronic health conditions)," Alison shared in her report to Frankston City Council.

Alison notes: "Some of the gaps identified are actionable now, but some need further fleshing out. They form the basis of several recommendations for action because they show how much the community worries, what they are worried about, what inaction they see, and how they don’t feel connected/heard or communicated with.

  • A network to coordinate our assets and ambassadors and communicate in preparation for or response to disasters.
  • Public spaces are not currently available outside of office hours (this is a missed opportunity to utilise infrastructure such as air-conditioned facilities for heat relief)
  • 3PCC- Don’t know what’s out there.
  • No funding: council enacts heatwave initiatives but how does it operate in the neighbourhoods?
  • Tree planting and cutting down."

She adds that it was also raised that:

  • Any ideas, initiatives and plans in the FCC area must consider an assessment of the impacts and risk of heat to its objectives and implementation, especially compounding disasters of heatwave plus other extreme weather events occurring simultaneously. 
  • That value must be placed on our mature trees as key assets, both as habitat and shade. They must be retained, and their health monitored, in  conjunction with new plantings.

"They could have kept going they were so engaged, but time had to be called on the short, jam-packed session," Alison said, adding that "events such as this showed the eagerness in the community to start planning the climate adaptation initiatives required to create / build resilience to climate impacts."



The recommendations created from the event, in no particular order (all important for the climate adaption required, and community physical and mental health), sent through in the report to Frankston City Council are:

  1. The community is asking for the creation of a Community Climate Change Heatwave Group to advise Council, similar to what other councils are already doing, such as the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.
  2. There was an overwhelming call for more heatwave resilience events to collect and channel our ideas, and to see those ideas being responded to by Council. We recommend that Frankston council support more events like this in the future and assign all identified community concerns to an appropriate person for resolution.
  3. We recommend that there is a regular, formal mechanism to track progress of assigned actions and escalate actions that are not progressing (i.e. being resolved or moving off the program to run as a defined project). A mechanism to measure if the results of actions taken are making a difference should also be adopted.
  4. The fact that public spaces are not available outside of office hours had strong support as an identified gap. As a first step, we recommend that Frankston Library is open until 10pm during heatwaves. This will go a long way to protecting community members from the health effects of heat.
  5. We have recently sweltered though hot nights as well as hot days so alternatives need to be identified to provide a means for people to reach them safely day or night, have use of facilities like charging devices, and can return home safely. The homeless need consideration here as well. As Heatwave Emergency procedures and communication currently sit with Council, we recommend that  the lead assigned be more visible, and could contact the event participants as an initial communication and consultation if required
  6. Although not specifically identified, community communication needs to be strengthened. It appears in the gaps “3PCC - Don’t know what’s out there” and “council enacts heatwave initiatives but how does it operate in the neighbourhoods?”. We suggest that current community engagement processes with FCC on strategies and plans, be changed to opt-out rather than opt-in as one solution to improve the community’s’ feeling about level of engagement. Another opportunity could be regular publication of all  active community engagements and their feedback closure dates, in aa existing FCC newsletter (or similar. 
  7. There is major concern about the mature trees that are being lopped and removed around the Council area, and that new plantings are with immature plants that take years to grow. The removal of mature street trees is leaving large areas of suburban streets without shade and hotter as the ever-present heat island effect increases without the tree(s). The community would like to retain and augment its natural habitat by replacement with more mature trees in conjunction with seedlings and saplings. These latter two take many years to grow into shade and replace habitat. Further action is needed to stop the removal of mature trees and have more consultation with the community or at least the neighbours when a mature tree is planned to be removed.
  8. We would like to request FCC put a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Climate Resilience based on the output and recommendations from the HeatSafe Frankston Community Event.  We think it is important that FCC outline the main risks facing our built environment and infrastructure from climate change, and the impact these will have on the people of Frankston City Council and neighbours. Detail on how the community is preparing for these impacts, the barriers in upgrading infrastructure to become more resilient to the impacts, and the preparedness for future climate disaster events will be included. The attendees of the Community HeatSafe event are available input to any submission made by VIC communities and  councils.
  9. It is vital to embed Heatwaves and their impact in all council practices, policies, building approvals, requests for feedback etc. Everywhere, there should be  assessment of Heatwave Impacts clearly outlined and understood before any approval is given. There may be significant cost/benefit missed in the community health and asset impacts if this is not done or ignored. One thing that could assist embedding this thinking is by everyone using the interactive Climate Heat Map of Australia | Climate Council.


Want help making this happen in your community?

We're offering support to anyone who wants to facilitate the activity in their own community. Check out our Submission Making Party Facilitation Guide, which you can use to guide the running of your own event!

Uncertain about running a Community Resilience Mapping session in your community? We're happy to help! Contact us, either Aleesha Hanczakowski on [email protected] or Vicky Ellmore on [email protected], and we can answer any questions and walk you through running the event yourself, or we can come facilitate it ourselves, if possible.


Reach out for support to run Community Resilience Mapping in your community!


Stay tuned for further updates from Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective as we campaign for community-led climate adaptation by signing up for campaign updates here.

If you haven't already, please add your name to the call for a Victorian Community Climate Adaptation Fund. We need community-led climate adaptation that is continuously and adequately funded. This funding will enable communities to fulfil their plans to build resilient communities in a changing climate and keep those most at risk safe.

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