Posts Tagged ‘healthy cities’

Food-sensitive Planning and Urban Design: Forum

Posted in Events, Research by Kate Archdeacon on September 22nd, 2011

5 October , 2011
1:45 pmto5:00 pm

The Heart Foundation invites you to a forum to learn more about the resource: Food-sensitive planning and urban design: A conceptual framework for achieving a sustainable and healthy food system.

Guest speakers:

  • Associate Professor Trevor Budge (AM), La Trobe University
  • Jenny Donovan, Inclusive Design
  • Dr. Lukar Thornton, Deakin University
  • Kirsten Larsen, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL), Melbourne University

‘Food-sensitive planning and urban design (FSPUD) does not simply assert that we have a problem in our cities, but sets out to identify new ways of tackling issues, providing a suite of ideas and innovations that cities should now embrace.’ (Trevor Budge, foreword to FSPUD).

This forum will be of interest to planners, architects, urban designers, engineers, public health professionals, policy makers, community members and elected representatives. It will explore the critical need to consider food in urban land use and development, and how that might be achieved.

1:45 – 5:00pm, Thursday 6 October 2011

Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, Cnr Bell Street and St. Georges Road, Preston

Admission: free

RSVP: acceptances only by 5pm Friday 30 September 2011 to

Places are limited – booking essential

Wildflower Festival: Uplift your mind and body

Posted in Events by John Myers on September 19th, 2011

9 October , 2011

Photo courtesy of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

Spring clean your mind and body at the Wildflower Festival at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne on Sunday 9 October.

This year’s annual Wildflower Festival will make the most of getting people outdoors and into the Australian Garden for many different activities designed to lighten the body and soul.  From yoga among the wildflowers through to bushwalks, photography and botanical art, there is something for everyone to get involved in and enjoy.

Best of all is the chance to enjoy the eruption of colour of wildflowers throughout the bushland and in the Australian Garden, inspiration for the recent gold medal award-winning Australian Garden Show Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  Winning gold at Chelsea is seen as the pinnacle of excellence for landscape design and horticultural display. Over 150,000 people saw the show garden in London this year.

Among the spring wildflower display are the Circus Triggerplant (Stylidium bulbiferum), a dazzling plant from Western Australia that is covered with a layer of many small pink flowers; as well as a spectacular flowering lily with no common name (Thelionema grande) which in spring produces gorgeous deep blue star-like flowers, which open over a number of weeks.

Wildflower Festival highlights:

  • Wildflower photography
  • Yoga among the wildflowers
  • Fabulously addicted to massage
  • Wonderful wildflower walk
  • Botanical Illustrators
  • Continuous Colour Native Garden
  • Blakes Feast
Sunday October 9

Entry fees no longer apply for the Australian Garden.

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne
Corner of Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive
off South Gippsland Highway
Melway Map 133, K10

Bookings are required on 03 5990 2245.

Photo courtesy of Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

Green Your Laneway: City of Melbourne Guide

Posted in Models, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on September 14th, 2011

Source: City of Melbourne

Photo by Tokyo Green Space

Green Your Laneway

Do you live or work off a laneway? Are you interested in laneway greening? Anyone can improve their laneway for the benefit of everyone. Many people in the central city don’t have traditional gardens but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any plants. There are many opportunities to green your home or business; you just need to know where to start. Green Your Laneway is a guide to inform laneway communities on greening using planter boxes, wall creepers and green roofs and walls within their properties.

The article includes links and further information:

  • What can I green?
  • What can I plant in my laneway garden?
  • Have you considered maintenance?
  • Do I need permission for greening?
  • Have you considered access and safety?
  • Are you seeking funding?  (!!!)
Check out the page on the CoM website for more information, and check out Tokyo Green Space for more inspiration.

Photo by Tokyo Green Space

Photo by Tokyo Green Space


Paul Hawken @ Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on August 26th, 2011

25 October , 2011
26 October , 2011

Thriving Neighbourhoods is a Conference Series that explores the impact of the built and natural environments on communities’ health, wellbeing and productivity. The 2011 conference focuses on the role of Local Governments in creating liveable, sustainable and healthy communities: how they engage stakeholders including the property, planning, parks and recreation, health, and other government sectors.

The Conference will take these diverse groups out of their silos and work collaboratively to create a living environment where residents are healthy and productive.

Paul Hawken, renowned author whose works have transformed businesses’ thinking about their impact on the environment, will be in Melbourne to address the conference. In The Ecology of Commerce, he argues for “full-cost accounting”: taking account of social, environmental and economic costs to truly gauge the impact of a business decision. His other works include Natural Capitalism and Blessed Unrest.

For the full program and to register:

25 – 26 October 2011
St Kilda Town Hall

Urban Infrastructure: Towards a Sustainable Economy?

Posted in Events by unaavic on August 26th, 2011

14 September , 2011
5:45 pmto7:45 pm

UNAA Earth Summit Series 2011: Urban Infrastructure: Towards a Sustainable Economy?

In the lead up to the next United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012, the UNAA Victoria Earth Summit Series examines Victoria’s transition to a green economy in the context of the two themes of  Rio+20: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The upcoming UNAA Victoria Earth Summit event will discuss Victoria’s urban infrastructure and Melbourne’s progress towards becoming a sustainable city.

Guest Speaker: Professor Rob Adams
Architect and urban designer, Rob Adams has been at the nerve centre of the revitalisation of the City of Melbourne and surrounds and numerous redevelopments and flagship buildings bear his mark and influence.  Acquiring perspectives in urban design from Africa and the UK Rob moved on to adopt Australia in the early eighties. A Professorial Fellow at The University of Melbourne since 2004 and lecturer in demand at RMIT, Rob’s passion is now turning toward the liveability of Victoria while addressing its growth.

Forum Discussion
Rob Gell will facilitate a discussion following Rob’s presentation and will invite contributions from members of the audience.  The issues of sustainable development and infrastructure as they relate to transport, Melbourne’s CBD, metropolitan areas, regional Victoria and rural areas will be explored in this stimulating and thought provoking forum.

5.45pm, Wednesday 14 September, 2011
Allens Arthur Robinson
530 Collins St, Melbourne

RSVP Essential. For more information and RSVP form please visit the UNAA Victoria website or contact us on: (03) 9670 7878 or

Updates posted on Facebook and Twitter @unaavic

Greening a Changing City: Urban forest, health, liveability

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on July 27th, 2011

28 July , 2011
6:00 pmto7:30 pm

Image: stevendepolo via flickr CC

Greening a changing city: urban forest, health, liveability:

As Melbourne inevitably grows, central to its environmental and economic sustainability, is its capacity to have green spaces that can be the lungs of the city. Appropriate tree planting can serve to reduce the heat island effect, as climate change affects our city. The benefits of an enhanced urban forest and green infrastructure will be part of the solution to future changes, as we grow and old trees need replacement. Commentators will discuss how a future urban forest might evolve. Better places and spaces, healthy trees and water storage contribute to human health, wellbeing and economic sustainability.

Panellists include: Dr Cecil C. Konijnendijk, Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, University of Copenhagen; Dr Kate Auty, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Melbourne; Rod Marsh from Net Balance, Joy Murphy AO a Wurundjeri elder and traditional owner and GP Dr Dimity Williams the Secretary of Doctors for the Environment Aust.

Thursday July 28, 6 – 7:30 pm

Melbourne Town Hall

No RSVP required

Where Are They Now? Ben Nicholson, Groof

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 30th, 2011

Here at Sustainable Melbourne we’ve been contacting Sustainable Cities Round Tables (SCRT) presenters, to find out how their projects and ideas have grown and changed since Ferne Edwards first launched the Round Tables in May 2007.

Ben Nicholson gave a presentation at the SCRT in November 2008, after spending two months studying green roofs in cities around the world as a Churchill Fellow. During this time, Ben met green roofs advocates; planners, environmentalists and designers, and he visited research sites and commercial sites, some of which have been in existence since the early 1990s. In his presentation, “Vital Signs for a Healthy City”, he described Melbourne as an adolescent city at risk of on-going health problems due to its large energy requirements, poor water management lack of biodiversity. Green roofs would change this prognosis by cooling the city, increasing urban food-growing space and wildlife habitat, and conserving storm water and energy.

In 2007, Ben established his own green roof consultancy, Groof, providing designs and advice to green roof developments in Victoria and overseas.

We caught up with Ben to ask about the changes in green roof implementation and acceptance in Australia since his presentation in 2008. There have been some notable green roof and wall projects developed in that time, including the vertical garden we sat next to in the foyer of the Gauge building in Docklands. During our conversation, Ben reiterated the importance of solid research and demonstration projects for industry players to assist in the development and maintenance of a successful Green Roof program in Australia’s cities.

Below are some extracts from Ben’s Churchill Trust Report:

Just as the ant spends a lifetime crawling up and down a tree without ever comprehending the tree’s full scale or its place in the wider world, so we spend our lives in cities without ever comprehending their true size or the impacts they are having on the planet… imagine for a moment you are sitting on a hill, watching a tree grow that, one day, will be crawled upon by an the ant mentioned above. And from this hill, imagine that you can fast-forward time as quickly as you like, so you sit and watch this tree grow from a tiny seed to a sapling to a huge, spreading lemon-scented gum in only a few short minutes. Now imagine that from the same hill you are watching your own city grow up from its earliest days of a few tents and dusty tracks into the sprawling suburbs, skyscrapers, freeways, factories and warehouses that it has become today. From this perspective, it is suddenly much easier to comprehend the amount of disruption that has occurred to all the other living things and natural systems forced to make way for the people and non-living things that make up your city today. We may never be able to bring everything back, but from the vantage of this hill we can at least start to imagine what our cities would look like when transformed into thriving eco-systems.

In many cities around the world, harm is being reducing by people as they build each new piece of eco-infrastructure into the city fabric. To do this properly, people first ask:

  • what does harm look like?
  • where is it most concentrated?
  • where is the worst of it coming from?


During the fellowship I learnt that the green roof and wall industry in each city has developed in the presence of local champions, detailed science, government support and an enlightened citizenry. The people in the cities I visited have developed policy responses and designed ‘eco-infrastructure’ that is unique to their local topography, climate and system of governance. In the more advanced cities, I observed some or all of the following activities taking place:

  1. Environmental indicators such as topography, temperature, rainfall and biodiversity are examined to understand the ways in which a city impacts upon its host environment. Using data sourced from early settlement to the current day, time-lapse analysis reveals the extent to which the city has affected its surrounds. Forecasting models are then used to predict future impacts with the key variable being extent of vegetation cover.
  2. Economic costs for the design, construction and maintenance of air conditioning/cleaning systems, water supply/removal systems and agricultural production/distribution systems are compared with the costs of using green roofs and walls to identify areas of city management that can be carried out more efficiently using green roof and wall technology.
  3. The benefits of green roofs and walls are tailored to address environmental and economic ‘trigger points’ specific to each city. These trigger points inform local green roof and wall design and assist in targeting the most effective locations for the placement of green roof and wall infrastructure.
  4. Demonstration and research projects raise awareness and provide information for public, private and government sectors.
  5. Political support for green roofs and walls leads to subsidies for the eco-infrastructure industry and the incorporation of built form standards and incentives.
  6. Environmental and economic indicators are regularly monitored to refine eco-infrastructure design and placement.
  7. Over time, the economic and environmental costs associated with the negative impacts of urbanisation are reduced and the benefits associated with an increase in vegetation cover are multiplied.


As eco-infrastructure projects begin to reduce harm, there will be an increase in the demand for high quality products and services. It is therefore up to the people and companies who stand to benefit the most from this demand to provide funding for eco-infrastructure research and demonstration projects in the early phase of the industry’s development. We can learn a lot from the failures and triumphs of other cities. Now is the time to transform our negative impacts into positive ones. And in doing so, we will transform ourselves from being harmful pests to welcome guests.

Download Ben’s report to read more about his research, including case studies from his tour and further reading and recommendations.

Improving Urban Streams Through a Stormwater Retrofit Approach: Forum

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on June 23rd, 2011

29 June , 2011
9:30 amto1:00 pm

Image: Gardens, Lawns, and Landscapes via flickr CC

Clearwater in partnership with the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Melbourne Water invite you to a unique event where you will hear insights into the contrasting approaches of two innovative catchment-scale stormwater retrofit programs:

Both projects aim to improve the condition of receiving waters using novel incentives to engage the community. These incentives encourage the uptake of allotment and streetscape scale stormwater retention and treatment systems.

Key speakers include:

  • Chris Walsh – Principle Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Tim Fletcher – Associate Professor Water Engineering, Monash University
  • Bill Shuster – Research Hydrologist, US Environmental Protection Authority
  • Darren Bos – Project Coordinator, Little Stringybark Creek project
  • Helen Brown – UK Endeavour Award Fellow, University of Melbourne

Presentations throughout the day will be supported with facilitated discussion and the opportunity to meet and chat with three stormwater experts from the US EPA, over an informal lunch setting.  The forum is ideal for water industry practitioners, environment staff, urban designers, town planners, engineers and contract staff.  This forum will provide practical insights on: effective engagement of the community in stormwater management economic incentives for encouraging stormwater management at allotment scale design, construction and performance of streetscape and allotment-scale stormwater retention, harvesting and treatment systems the future of stormwater management objectives in Australia.

Price: $60 – includes arrival tea & coffee, morning tea and lunch

9:30 – 13:00, Wednesday 29th June

Visit the Clearwater website for more information and to register.

Using Treated Stormwater for Vegies

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on May 24th, 2011

Source: Clearwater

From “Is treated stormwater safe for growing food?“:

Treated stormwater is safe to use on your household vegetable patch according to a new report by the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities at Monash University. The study found that vegetables watered with treated stormwater, normally associated with having strong levels of heavy metals such as lead, and increased pollutants, were just as safe to eat as vegetables irrigated from mains water supplies.

Dr David McCarthy from the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities said that two major findings emerged from the study. “We found that using treated stormwater did not noticeably increase the level of contamination in the vegetables when compared with those irrigated with the mains water. Secondly, it seemed that the most likely route of pollutants entering the vegetables was through the soil or possibly through the atmosphere”, Dr David McCarthy said.

These findings were presented by Dr David McCarthy at a recent Clearwater event with project funding by the Smart Water Fund.

Click here to view a copy of the presentation which is available on our [Clearwater] website or for more information visit the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities.

Get Moving At Work: Walk The Block Next Tuesday

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on May 11th, 2011

17 May , 2011

Source: Victoria Walks

Victoria Walks is aiming to combat workplace physical inactivity by developing the event – Walk the Block. The aim is simple: to get people away from their desks and onto their feet. Walk the Block will be a fun and lively event that brings together employees from corporate organisations, government departments and other workplaces across Victoria to walk their block on Tuesday 17 May (download flyer).

The event has been developed by Victoria Walks to promote four simple workplace walking ideas:

  • ‘In your stride’ – quick and easy tips to keep staff moving at work
  • Walking meetings – step out for active and productive conversations
  • Walkabout inductions – for new staff to learn what is close by
  • Walking groups – regular walks for fit and friendly workplaces.

Resources for each of these initiatives will be sent to workplaces so that walking can easily be incorporated into organisations’ working culture.

Register as an individual or an organisation.