Archive for November, 2007

Resource – Launching google map of sustainable cities!

Posted in Models, Movements by fedwards on November 16th, 2007

The Sustainable Cities Network is proud to launch the global map featuring sustainable cities websites! The map provides a visual guide to the growing number of active sustainable cities blogs as part of the international Sustainable Cities network. Courtesy of google maps, the Sustainable Cities Map allows people to zoom in and out and whirl around the world to visit each of the sites. Maybe you or someone you know are interested in setting up your own Sustainable Cities site for your city?…. Visit the Code of Practice or Get Involved on to find out how!

Model – First carbon-neutral building!

Posted in Models by fedwards on November 15th, 2007

According to Environment & Science Technology Online News, the U.S. Green Building Council has certified the world’s first carbon-neutral building on October 18. It is “the greenest building ever built,” according to the organization’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ranking system.

The article describes the building as a “12,000 square foot structure (which) produces 15% more energy than it consumes, thanks to its geothermal heating system and the 39.4 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array on its roof. Its heating and ventilation system is built around “earth tubes” that heat or cool air underground before it is sent into the building. The building also incorporates more conventional energy-saving features, such as maximizing insulation and capturing daylight and natural breezes.”

For more information about the world’s first carbon-neutral building visit the full article at

Sustainable Cities – Update from

Posted in Uncategorized by fedwards on November 14th, 2007

This post is re-published with permission from the Greensburg GreenTown website,, a proud member of the Sustainable Cities Network.

Model Homes Project Launched

The Model Homes Project will feature the building of twelve state-of-the-art green homes in Greensburg. Our vision is that these homes be built not only to showcase to residents what is possible for their own homes, but also to serve as lodging and eco-tourism destinations.

The twelve homes will serve as demonstration sites for a variety of building construction technologies and green products and services. Each home would also serve as a testing site/laboratory with monitoring equipment that would give observers information on how each type of construction performs under real world conditions. The homes also would provide lodging to tourists that would give them experience in a particular type of home that interests them.

So, in the short term, Greensburg residents will have the opportunity to view first-hand how the various buildings look and behave, and in the long-term, the homes will serve as a source of revenue for the community and GreenTown in their role as eco-tourism destination. As noted in the above article, the Mother Earth-Natural Home model home is in the works. Several other companies and educational institutions have expressed interest in this project. More on this as additional parties sign on to build their green dream homes.

Greensburg Green Town

Resource – New ‘Get Involved’ tag on!

Posted in Models, Movements by fedwards on November 13th, 2007

To draw your attention to the new ‘Get involved‘ tag at the top of! This tag provides a helpful introduction as to how you can become more involved in the Sustainable Cities project. Apart from the conventional posting of information and comments online, we also welcome and support selected people to manage their own Sustainable Cities’ websites for the cities where they live, or if they already have such a site, to join our growing, international Sustainable Cities Network. Visit the ‘Get involved‘ tag above for more information.

Resource & Model – Interested in green roofs?

Posted in Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on November 12th, 2007

A new green roof blog has recently emerged in Australia as a result of a new organisation established by the Urban Agriculture Network-Western Pacific and Nettworx Publishing Pty Ltd. The group, titled “Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities” (GRHAC) is a membership organisation with an elected committee that draws together the various governmental, organisational and businesses groups and individuals interested in being kept informed about green roof science, technology, practice, regulations, specifications. Their blogsite, Green Roofs Australia, covers a plethora of international information with links to even more information, with categories such as domestic/ residential roofs, green roof consultants/ costing/ studies/ suppliers, politics, practical guides and more. To visit the blog go to

GreenRoofs Australia

Sustainable Cities –

Posted in Events, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on November 9th, 2007

Your visions – Sustainable Energy from the Sustainable Cities Round Table / Future Melbourne Forum, 31 October
November 7th, 2007
by ferne edwards

Below are comments collected from the most recent Sustainable Cities Round Table / Future Melbourne Forum, 31 October 2007. The theme for the evening was “visioning sustainable cities“. In addition to a marvelous range of high quality presentations, we invited the audience to participate by commenting on what they thought we important aspects for a sustainable future. The categories for commentary were sustainable food, energy, education, aging and health, mobility and communication, water and waste. We also welcome additional comments about what you think are important aspects for visioning sustainable cities. Please submit your comments in the box below.


“Solar farms in central Australia?”

“How can multiple visions of sustainable futures drawing on hybrid cultural backgrounds be condensed into a viable future?”

“A vision for locally produced, locally owned, locally distributed systems, which provide not only energy but sense of community, local expertise and desires for growth and sustainable energy. Distributed energy systems (not just generation) holds this possibility.”

“Wind power, geothermal (and other) renewable energy projects.”

“Must be initiatives to reduce energy demand through a. energy efficiency (technological solutions) and b. individual behaviour change (education re. energy saving).”

“Umm…. So where’s the connection between the guy from Sustainability Victoria and the actions of Brumby’s cabinet? For example, leadership in ESD? In planning regulations that require sensible orientation, x, etc, as well as 5 star? In PT over roads? In solar and wind technologies? Etc…..”

“Make all new subdivisions compulsory to have lots oriented to the north and to reduce use.”

“Create awareness in people. Do not depend on technology to solve problems.”

“Zero emissions, co-gen, localised facilities (funded by governments at all levels).”

“Community-based ‘retrofit’. Education is a must for the 95% of us that live in energy inefficient homes. See the ‘sustainable home’ model at”

“A form of star-rating on houses. More stars, more incentive to buy. Perhaps could regulate the rental sector?”

“The risk of grand meta-narratives disconnect with peoples’ lived experience. Multicultural composition – liveability – multicultural experience. Who defines liveability? Vision – who’s vision? How do you stream line multiple visions?”

“Energy consumption by our 21C lifestyles needs to change. What would alternatives look like? Need to produce sustainable alternatives.”

“Really truly make mixed use liveable. (I live in an old house where you cool it down by opening windows. The pub next door now makes noise from 12-1am – no sleep for us!)”

“Sustainable housing = green + affordable housing.”
“Use less, have more”.

Resource – The Code of Practice is now on the Sustainable Cities Net site!

Posted in Movements, Research by fedwards on November 8th, 2007

The Code of Practice defines the background, purpose and philosophy of the Sustainable Cities Network. This document (which will be regularly updated ) is now posted online at the at the bottom of the main webpage (click here).

People who are interested in becoming active participants of this Network are welcome to read and comment on this document. For further information, please contact Ferne Edwards, Sustainable Cities Research Officer and moderator of, at fedwards

Resource – Australian Backyards book

Posted in Research by fedwards on November 7th, 2007

And yes…. More on backyards…. See “Research – The mystery of the disappearing backyards” for earlier posting and also, “Seeking resources – the “Sharing Backyards” idea” on

Backyard. Nature and Culture in Suburban Australia.
University of Wollongong Press
(ISBN 9781920831 51 6).
HB, 192pp.
RRP $69.95 by Lesley Head and Pat Muir

“This beautifully illustrated new book uses suburban backyards from Sydney, Wollongong and Alice Springs as a window on to Australian environmental attitudes and practices. In-depth interviews with backyarders are woven into an accessible discussion of current theories about the environment and ideas of nature and change. The book challenges the divisions between cities and nature, and the argument that urban Australians are alienated from nature, by showing how we are all enmeshed with the non-human world.

The research analyses both commonality and differences in the environmental positioning of diverse groups of urban Australians. Backyards can be zones of conflict and passionate argument. They are places where we establish boundaries around which plants, animals and people are allowed to belong. Trees, lawn, cats and native plants provoke a spectrum of responses between love and hate. By contrast, there is more of a shared ethic when it comes to water and birds. These findings have important implications for how we create sustainable cities (my italics!).

The research was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project. The book will be of interest in geography, urban studies, environmental science, anthropology, ecology, landscape planning, sociology and cultural studies. It is available through any good bookshop or order online at”

Call for Applications: International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair – Deadline 30 April, 2008

Posted in Research, Visions by fedwards on November 6th, 2007

Every four years, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) organizes the World Conservation Congress, the biggest and most diverse conservation-related event in the world. Its objective is to improve the way we manage our environment for human, social and economic development.

The upcoming IV World Conservation Congress “A Diverse and Sustainable World” (5-14 October, 2008, in Barcelona, Spain) will highlight the linkages between natural, social, cultural and economic diversity.

IUCN will use the platform offered by the World Conservation Congress to organize the International Women Environmental Entrepreneurs Fair. The Fair aims to: facilitate and strengthen women’s enterprises that produce environmentally friendly products or services; and showcase women’s business activities that go beyond regional borders and contribute to environmental conservation and the alleviation of poverty.

How to participate:
If you are a woman that belongs to an environmentally friendly entrepreneurial group, please
click here to download the application form.

Submissions will be accepted from November 2007 until April 30, 2008.

Research – The mystery of the disappearing backyards

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on November 5th, 2007

I have to admit – I am a little obsessed with backyards. They offer this magnificent, accessible space for people to relax, express their values, grow their food and breathe outside within the busyness of the city limits. In Australia, they’re also disappearing…. Below is some information about this vanishing resource.

Mystery of disappearing backyards
The Urban Research Program at Griffith University is pleased to announce the release of our latest research paper. Research Paper 13 is authored by Prof. Tony Hall and is titled ‘Where Have All the Gardens Gone? An Investigation into the Disappearance of Backyards in the Newer Australian Suburb‘. The paper examines the changing form of new suburban development focusing on layout and yard space. The paper considers these trends in relation to the historical form of suburban development and recent practice overseas. The paper may be downloaded free of charge.

Urban Research Program