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Should we charge people to attend the Sustainable Cities Round Tables?

Posted in Events, Seeking by Ferne Edwards on December 22nd, 2008

The Sustainable Cities Round Tables (SCRTs) are a series of regular events that feature a variety of speakers who talk about their environmental initiatives on urban sustainability themes, in addition to holding short workshops to engage the entire audience, ending with networking and drinks. There are often also sustainability-related exhibitions held at these events and the outcomes – a series of videos and information about the projects – are posted online at There have now been nine SCRTs held over the last year and a half and they have all been free with people from government, community, academia and industry welcome to attend. However, although we request people to RSVP to these events and people do this, many people do not show up on the night, creating a lot of waste in terms of material resources, in time for additional organising, and in terms of space as the venues we’ve chosen may no longer be best for the event size. We still welcome everyone to attend these events but I am now wondering if we charged an amount – say $10 – that people would then commit to attending on the evening? I would like to hear your thoughts – do we need to charge a fee to encourage people who RSVP to show up? Should we try other tactics? Would you yourself be more likely to attend (or not) if we charged $10 per event? I understand that many people who read Sustainable Melbourne may have experienced similar things and have some knowledge to share. Please place your comments below or email me at fedwards@

Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Cities Research Officer, VEIL