Archive for May, 2007

Event – World Environment Day 5 June

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on May 31st, 2007

As more people become aware and concerned about the state of the environment, events such as World Environment Day on June 5, grow in number and popularity. Rather than being depressed about bad news, many of these activities celebrate the actions that people are already doing or serve to educate people  to understand the issues and become more involved in the solutions. World Environment day events include:

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Local action & Resource – Public debate about Melbourne’s Public Transport System

Posted in Research, Uncategorized by Ferne Edwards on May 29th, 2007

Below is a post from the Australasian Centre for the Governance and Management of Public Transport (GAMUT) blogsite:

Public Debate – Melbourne’s Public Transport System
At present there is a debate on the privatization of Melbournes public transport system. The current franchises expire on November 30th 2007 and the State Government of Victoria has to decide whether to take the system back into public hands, perhaps with a view to setting up a different method of combining public and private sector roles. To read more, visit the GAMUT website,

Event – Melbourne Forums offering leading insights on sustainable buildings

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on May 29th, 2007

Solar Panel

The Melbourne Forums, held by the City of Melbourne, Sustainability Victoria, the Building Commission, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating (IARAC) and the Green Building Council of Australia, are a series of free public forums which present leading edge insights into aspects of sustainable building. Their goal is to increase “the development and refurbishment of commercial buildings in Victoria to achieve greater levels of sustainable performance”.

The next Melbourne Forum will take place on June 26. For more information about the Melbourne Forum, visit the IARAC website,, click on Professional Development and then Melbourne Forum.





Local action – More Sustainable Cities Round Tables in the future

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on May 25th, 2007

The Sustainable Cities Round Table was held last night at the University of Melbourne. Eminent Melbourne professionals presented the essence of their environmental initiatives to three slides within a challenging 3 minute time slot. The topic and type of presentations reflected the diversity of issues relevant to establishing sustainable cities, such as the role of the government (State and Local), architecture, community and engineering amongst others. A strong message of the importance of networking and collaboration was shared among those who attended. A short discussion was held at the end of the evening to launch ideas of how Sustainable Melbourne could collaborate with others to support urban sustainability initiatives in Melbourne.

Outcomes and recordings of the Round Table will be published on this site within the next week. Read on for more details of the speakers and their topics.

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Event – Sustainable Cities Round Table tonight

Posted in Events by Ferne Edwards on May 24th, 2007

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Laboratory and Sustainability Victoria are holding the first Sustainable Cities Round Table tonight at the University of Melbourne. Sustainable Cities is a  topic of real currency at this time, because of the concentration of people in cities globally and the implications of climate change.

Melbourne is a hub of activities and projects driven by the need to understand the issues and the potentiality of sustainable cities and to shape development of new urban systems. Melbourne architectural offices are designing sustainable cities in China and the Middle East; ICLEI and many local councils are transforming the environmental footprint of local communities; there are new research programs in universities – the Global Cities Institute at RMIT University, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Laboratory (VEIL) at the University of Melbourne; our university programs in architecture, landscape and urban design have a strong focus on sustainability and buildings and city planning; government departments and agencies are actively engaging with programs to support sustainable urban development; industry has innovative new products in critical areas of water, energy, transport.

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Vision – The Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities

Posted in Models, Policies, Visions by Ferne Edwards on May 23rd, 2007

The Melbourne Principles for Sustainable Cities were developed in Melbourne, Australia, in 2002, during an international Charette, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. The Melbourne Principles consist on ten short statements on how cities can become more sustainable.

Although they are designed to be read by decision-makers, they are an excellent guide for everyone in what defines urban sustainability and provide a good starting point on the journey towards sustainability. They can also apply to any city in the world. Although all the Principles are central to create sustainable cities, No. 8 “Expand and enable cooperative networks to work towards a common, sustainable future” is perhaps the most pertinent for and This example illustrates the need for multiple approaches, people and institutions to work together to create sustainable urban environments.
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Research – Water research from CSIRO

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on May 22nd, 2007

Urban waterscapes: creating water smart cities for Australia is part of the CSIRO’s “Water for a Healthy Country Flagship research” program, which aims to establish Australian cities as world leaders in the efficient use of water. The project initially focuses on Australias two major east coast cities of Melbourne and Sydney. These cities are examined as total urban systems, with a focus on the impact of urban water activities from the ocean to the outer reaches of our water supply catchments.

Two major research projects tackling city water issues are:
* Water Smart City Systems: creating water-smart‘ cities tailored to Australian culture and conditions
* Water Smart Communities: transforming urban water service provision.

Visit the CSIRO’s website to find out more.

Event – Greenhouse Solutions with Sustainable Energy: Symposium and Book Launch

Posted in Events, Policies, Research by Ferne Edwards on May 21st, 2007

Free public lecture
Wednesday 30 May 2007, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus

Global warming is arguably the most dangerous environmental problem and the most difficult political issue to be faced by the world in the 21st century.This symposium will discuss sustainable energy technologies and the policies needed to implement them at the federal and state level.

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Community – The Choir of Hard Knocks as social sustainability

Posted in Models by Ferne Edwards on May 18th, 2007

The Choir of Hard Knocks is a local choir of disadvantaged and homeless people. Although they are not an environmentally-focussed initiative, they represent an inspiring example of how people can overcome their hardships and unite with others to achieve a common goal. Sustainability is not just about the environment but also about people and how they can work together to achieve great things. According to their website, the aim of the Choir of Hard Knocks is:

"to bring people together, build their confidence enabling them to contribute to their community in a positive way, but also to have fun."

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Local action – Water for home grown produce

Posted in Research by Ferne Edwards on May 17th, 2007

According to research conducted by David Holmgren, the CSIRO published co-originator of permaculture, home grown produce can be 10 times more efficient in using water compared to commercial growers (see thus providing a viable and highly beneficial use of town water. By growing your own, Holmgren states that people in the city can save up to 25% of greenhouse gases by eliminating ‘food miles, ie. reducing the use of excess energy in transportation (such as transportation to sorting sheds, markets, supermarkets and homes) and other food production processes, such as machine harvesting and cool storage rooms. In addition, Holmgren advocates for organic home production, which increases biodiversity and  reduces the amount of chemicals in the environment while also reinstating our connection with nature through being outside gardening.

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