Posts Tagged ‘healthy cities’

Singing the Changes? Melbourne Mussel Choir

Posted in Models, Research, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on May 27th, 2013

The ATA flagged this project in their recent ReNew newsletter as being worth a look, and we agree!

Melbourne mussel choir_Natalie Jeremijenko
Photo: Natalie Jeremijenko

From the Melbourne Mussel Choir:

The Melbourne Mussel Choir enables members of the public to monitor and celebrate the tremendous environmental services these organisms can provide.

Carbon Arts is working with the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) and artist Natalie Jeremijenko to realise her concept for a public artwork that uses marine organisms to collect data about and represent the real-time water quality – or, as Jeremijenko, likes to call it, the Qualities of Water – of the Melbourne Docklands’ aquatic ecosystem.

One mussel can filter as much as 6-9 litres of water/ hour. By instrumenting mussels with hall effect sensors, which indicate the opening and closing of their shells, and by giving them each a voice, converting the data into sound, the artwork uses the behavior of the organisms themselves as a biologically meaningful measure of pollutant exposure in order to produce a public spectacle.

Storm water run-off, local weather, and seasons will have evident effects on the Choir’s performances. The songs will map parameters such as water depth to sound pitch, presence of pollutants to sound timbre, and the rate of the opening and closing of mussel shells to sound tempo, for example. The mussels will become rock stars.

Planning work has begun with a final launch expected in 2014. The Melbourne Mussel Choir was the winning work of the Echology: Making Sense of Data initiative, a partnership between Carbon Arts, the Australian Network of Art and Technology and developer, Lend Lease.


Electric Vehicle Festival

Posted in Events, Movements by EcoCentre on February 18th, 2013

24 February , 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

EV fest st kilda

EcoCentre is all charged up about hosting an EV Festival in St Kilda on Sunday 24 Feb.

Here’s your chance to test drive a range of electric cars and cool E-bikes (pre-registration necessary for cars). Get up close and personal with low-emissions motoring and easy cycling technology – the future of private transport. Let’s embrace EV’s in urban Melbourne, like so many other parts of the globe that are striving for healthier cities.

Experts will give short talks at the Festival on related topics such as:
-How to recharge an electric vehicle for free using solar panels
-How to get your head around technology issues, including range, speed, charging and so on
-Pricing and trends

Register in advance for a test drive of an electric car at: .  Like our EV Festival Facebook site to go in the draw for a ride in a Tesla Roadster (pictured).

Where: Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
When: Sunday 24 February 2013, 10am-4pm
Enquiries: 9534 0670

Creative Suburbs Forum

Posted in Events by Jessica Bird on February 12th, 2013

15 February , 2013
2:00 pmto3:00 pm

6. Creative Suburbs

Are growing, liveable cities and neighbourhoods achievable? Join this interactive forum to find out.

How old will you be in 2040? What sort of place do you want Melbourne to be? It is now obvious that Melbourne’s population will continue to grow. It is also obvious that climate change will have a major effect on how we live. The changes to our lives, and costs, are likely to be significant. Think: transport, electricity, gas and water. However, population growth can be comfortably accommodated, and can positively lead to thriving communities within existing urban growth boundaries. Many of the necessary processes and technologies already exist. The catch is: we must effectively plan now.

That’s where you come in. This is not just a matter for the government, developers, and planning ‘experts’. This forum gives you the chance to nurture the positive ideas, put a blowtorch to the negative ideas, and learn about what can be done to maintain Melbourne as a sustainable and liveable city.

Forum collaborators include: Urban Design Forum, Urban Rethink, Heart Foundation, Deakin University and Planning Institute of Australia and Creative Suburbs.

When:  2pm – 3pm, Friday 15th February
Where: The Shed
River Promenade, Fed Square
>>> This forum is being held as part of the Sustainable Living Festival, check the website to find out more.

Plasticized: Outdoor film screening

Posted in Events by EcoCentre on January 21st, 2013

28 January , 2013
7:30 pmto11:00 pm


Outdoor film screening at the Port Phillip EcoCentre – ‘Plasticized’

A documentary about the massive amounts of unseen plastic pollution in our oceans. An immeasurable amount of plastic pollution of all sizes is floating throughout every major ocean in the world. Aboard the research vessel the Sea Dragon, an intrigued cameraman shares his experience following the 5 Gyres Institute across the South Atlantic on the very first expedition studying the alarming amount of oceanic plastic pollution.

This will be an outdoor movie in the EcoCentre gardens. Please bring along something to sit on. BYO snacks.

When: Monday 28 January, 7.30pm

Where: Port Phillip EcoCentre
55A Blessington Street
(corner of Blessington & Herbert Streets)
St Kilda

Bookings essential, see the Port Phillip EcoCentre website.

Ride to Work Day: October 17

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 11th, 2012

17 October , 2012

Photo: Matt Biddulph via flickr CC

The Ride2Work Program aims to get people started and keep them riding to work.

Ride2Work Day 2012 is Wednesday 17 October.

The Ride2Work Program is a nationally run, year round program that actively encourages thousands of Australians thinking of commuting by bicycle to give it a try. Existing riders can share their knowledge and experience with peers, as well as support and encourage those starting out.

Ride2Work has a strong influence in the dramatic increase of people choosing to ride to work, with 38% of new riders registered in 2011 still riding to work five months later.

The big event on the Ride2Work calendar is Ride2Work Day, the only nationally recognised event of its kind which provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to join over 150,000 Australians celebrating riding to work and encourages people that don’t currently ride to give it a go. Register, and then see if there’s a Community Breakfast on the day near you.


Return to Royal Park: Community Consultation

Posted in Seeking by Kate Archdeacon on August 31st, 2012

The City of Melbourne and the Department of Health are working together on Return to Royal Park, a project to reinstate parkland on the site of the former Royal Children’s Hospital, on the corner of Gatehouse Street and Flemington Road, Parkville.

The first phase of community consultation was held over a six week period in March and April 2012. During this phase the community told us their ideas and vision for the reinstated parkland. This information was summarised in the Community Consultation Feedback Report and was used to inform the Return to Royal Park Ideas Plan.

We are now inviting your feedback on the Return to Royal Park Ideas Plan during a second phase of community consultation. The second phase of consultation will start on the 15 August 2012 and will run for four weeks, finishing on the 12 September 2012.

A design for this parkland is expected to be complete in 2013 and the parkland reinstated by the end of 2014.

>>Go to the website for more information.

Learning from European Cities

Posted in Models, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on July 12th, 2012

 Source: The Fifth Estate

Photo by Jason Pier in DC via flickr CC

From “Sexy … as in small: the European angle on cities” by Robin Mellon, Green Building Council Australia (GBCA):


In Australia, we have borrowed much from Europe in the evolution of our cities, not least some of the names. But the majority of Australia’s urban development has occurred during the era of the motor car, and so our towns and cities are much less dense and much more sprawled. And with that broad expanse of country on which to build have come larger and larger homes.

On a worldwide scale, Australia already has five of the 20 least affordable cities, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2012 Worldwide Cost of Living survey. Energy prices are rising fast, mostly due to under-investment in infrastructure over the past 25 years, and water and landfill charges will be tracking in a similar direction.

Europe is similarly undergoing its own financial worries, with significantly higher levels of unemployment, inflation and national debts than Australia. But can we learn from our European cities? What have I taken away from the last few weeks? The lessons I’ve learned can be grouped into four areas:

It’s not the size that counts.

First and foremost is the question of building size – it really isn’t how much you’ve got, it’s what you do with it that counts. Many of the offices, houses and apartments I saw were simply smaller – there was less space available and a much greater demand for what there was, and so small apartments were the rule rather than the exception. There were also many more good design and good technology solutions for coping with small spaces – whether new development or retrofits. The bottom line is that smaller homes are cheaper to run – how much less would a 100 square metre apartment cost to operate than a 150 square metre apartment?

Small equals savings.

The cars you see in European capital cities are also smaller on average than those in Australia. Whole days would go by without me seeing a big 4WD or people-mover, with everyone using bicycle share schemes, public transport or chic little cars (many of which were, in turn, either car share schemes or rechargeable cars). Small cars are just cheaper to run, and often have a comparable safety rating to larger cars, especially when considering where and how they are most often driven.

Old world ideas for a new age.

Most of Europe’s older buildings were built at a time when ‘sustainability’ was not a buzz-word – they depended upon natural ventilation and natural daylight, shading from the sun, eaves, shutters, balconies on which to grow plants, dry washing and sit outside, and thick walls and insulated roofs to keep the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. Many of these older buildings, therefore, have good opportunities for retrofitting, now that we can combine good passive design with good technologies and good behaviour.

Adjusting expectations.

Because smaller apartments and cars, and often older buildings, are the norm, people have different expectations. Sure, they might want the latest in modern convenience, but what was most readily available was small and traditional and so the expectations were lower. Certainly the dreams of a European first-time home owner do not equal a 250 square metre house and land package with double garage thrown in, but a small apartment in a walk-up block close to public transport. In Europe I heard many times that the percentage deposit needed for a mortgage was much higher; in turn this helps to keep expectations lower because the smaller the purchase, the smaller the deposit needed.


Read the full article by Robin Mellon on the Fifth Estate.

Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities: Report

Posted in Policies, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 5th, 2012

The HealthWest Food Security Network is very pleased to present the Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities – Issues of food access and availability in the west, a report canvassing key food security issues in the HealthWest catchment.

The report findings point to a number of food access and food availability issues in the west based on the findings from three data sources: food outlet mapping, the Victorian Healthy Food Basket (VHFB) surveys, and community consultations.

The main issues that affect food access in the west are:

  • high cost of healthy food;
  • low income; and
  • lack of public or private transport.

The main issues that affect food availability in the west are:

  • fruit and vegetable deserts;
  • disproportion between the number of fresh fruit and vegetable outlets in comparison with take away outlets; and
  • lack of culturally appropriate food.

Access to healthy and culturally appropriate food is an important social determinant of health and the Report includes key recommendations to improve access and availability of fresh food in our community.

The report will be particularly useful for local council planners, health promotion workers, managers, program developers, quality improvement officers and other workers who will be able to use the data to inform food security advocacy, policy, planning and program development.

>>Download Healthy Foods for Healthy Communities – Issues of food access and availability in the west, June 2012

From the Executive Summary:

Based on the key food security issues identified in the west that have been presented in this report, the following recommendations are proposed to improve access and availability of fresh food in the west:

  1. Support community initiatives promoting access to affordable healthy food (e.g. farmers markets, food swap).
  2. Establish partnerships with local stakeholders including community and health services, council, community groups and local business interest groups, to ensure equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable community groups.
  3. Advocate to local council and relevant decision makers to improve the access to nutritious foods by improving transport links to food outlets (e.g. new or altered bus routes, cycle paths, community buses).
  4. Advocate to local council and relevant decision makers to improve the access to nutritious foods by regulating the number and type of food outlets licensed in the west.
  5. Support development of urban food production in the fruit and vegetables deserts (e.g. public space food production, community gardens, and private gardens).
  6. Develop a means of evaluating the access to culturally appropriate foods (e.g. develop a cultural healthy food basket).
  7. Integrate determinants of food security (i.e. transport, employment and housing) across organisational policies and programs.
  8. Develop evidence based strategies addressing the determinants of food security.

In addition, a number of recommendations for the HealthWest Food Security Network were made to guide future work, as outlined in Chapter 5.

Inclusive Growth, Welfare and Development Policy: International Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on May 29th, 2012

29 June , 2012

This one-day Forum will be hosted by the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences in partnership with the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Forum aims to bridge the divide between welfare and social policy, and development practice through the prism of ‘inclusive growth’.

Drawing upon the expertise of leading international policymakers and academics in the field, the Forum will explore the following salient themes:

  1. Critiquing the theoretical underpinning of growth and development
  2. Examining welfare state perspectives on inclusive growth and social/economic development
  3. Presenting lessons learned and best practices from developing and developed economies

These themes will be explored at four sessions during the one-day Forum titled:

  • The Inclusive Growth Paradigm
  • Inclusive Growth and Development
  • Inclusive Growth and Welfare
  • Development, Welfare and Policy Practice
Friday 29 June 2012

Public Lecture Theatre Old Arts Building, University of Melbourne

$60 per person including morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

Register at

For enquiries contact Tamsin Courtney

Melbourne’s Urban Forest: Eco-City Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on November 29th, 2011

30 November , 2011
6:30 pmto8:30 pm

Extract from the CoM Urban Forest Infographic

The City of Melbourne has released the first draft Urban Forest Strategy for community consultation. It responds to the large changes that are currently affecting our city’s tree population in the wake of climate change and urban growth. Within 20 years, Melbourne expects to lose 44 per cent of its trees. The draft Urban Forest Strategy seeks to manage this change and protect against future vulnerability and risk.

Have your say on how best to manage these changes in our municipality into the future by attending an Eco-City forum on the strategy.

Wednesday November 30, 6:30 to 8:30pm
Melbourne Town Hall

This is a free event.

Download the Urban Forest Infographic or the Draft Strategy