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Local action – Transport Newsletter #19 – Sustainable Cities

Posted in Policies by Ferne Edwards on May 10th, 2007

By guest author, Stephen Ingrouille, Principal, Going Solar, Reproduced with permission from Transport Newsletter #19, 2 May 2007. Please note: Sustainable Melbourne is a project of VEIL,  which is referred to in this article.

Regular readers will be aware that I have been advocating the establishment of a Sustainable Cities Authority (SCA) as a vehicle for knowledge transfer and encouragement of Federal funding for sustainable projects – and in particular Lighthouse Projects that are outside the scope of the State Governments.

Apart from drawing together the four elements of Urban Design, Buildings, Transport and Tourism, there is perhaps not too much that is new in what I have been advocating. One of the pleasures of the process however has been the joining together with individuals and organisations that have been thinking along the same lines. This forms part of the validation process.

Earlier this year I was informed of the work of the bi-partisan House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage and their report Sustainable Cities which was dated August 2005. The Committee conducted an extensive consultation process and produced an excellent report and series of recommendations, including calling for the establishment of a Sustainable Cities Commission. The thinking around the SCA is very similar.

“This committees vision is for Australian cities that are vibrant and healthy – environmentally, socially and economically. Working towards this goal is not the responsibility of governments alone. It is the responsibility of all Australians and must be a priority for all Australians…. What is missing is coordinated and concerted action. This committee believes that that there is a need for the Australian Government to assume a leadership role. Accordingly, the committees most important recommendations concern what form such leadership might take.”
Ref: Dr Mal Washer MP, Committee Chair. Forward, Sustainable Cities, August 2005

“Labor, the Greens and environmentalists have hailed the bipartisan report by a Coalition dominated committee as a positive step….The committee was appointed by the former environment minister, David Kemp, to report on how to reduce the environmental, economic and social cost of growing urban areas. Parliamentary committees rarely produce reports with recommendations that all members agree on…. ‘It’s a strong, bipartisan call for action to make our cities sustainable and it deserves the full attention of the Prime Minister and premiers to implement all the recommendations, (said Don Henry, the Directory of the Australian Conservation Foundation).”
Ref: Stephanie Peatling, SMH 13/9/05

Unfortunately, in spite of the universal support, the recommendations seemed to have slipped below the radar. With the combined issues of Climate Change, Peak Oil and rising levels of obesity and diabetes, it is time to implement the recommendations.

My recent presentations on Sustainable Cities have included:
o Sustainable Living Festival, Melbourne
o Building Regulations Advisory Committee
o Australian & New Zealand Solar Energy Society (ANZSES)
o Manningham Sustainability Forum
o Maribyrnong City Council (Vic)
o Hobart City Council (Tas)
o Campbelltown City Council (NSW)
o Victorian Eco-Innovations Laboratory (VEIL)

VEIL is helping to visualize possible sustainable lifestyles for Victoria in key specific areas. The organisation consists of academic designers (industrial and architecture) from RMIT, Monash and Melbourne Universities who are developing the scenarios and visions of sustainable life. These visions are periodically taken back to the universities and developed into ‘undergraduate studios where design students transform the ideas into relevant environments, products, services and systems.

Please contact me if you would like a presentation on Sustainable Cities and Transport for your organisation. Stephen Ingrouille can be contacted at or on (03) 9348 1000.

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