Archive for February, 2008

Research – ‘Australian cities and socio-economic deprivation’ report

Posted in Research by fedwards on February 26th, 2008

Find a review below about ‘Suburban scars: Australian cities and socio-economic deprivation’, Scott Baum, Urban Research Program, Griffith University, as published on Australian Policy Online.

“Scott Baum’s sweeping new report pinpointing hot-spots of Australia’s escalating rich-poor divide and identifying those suburbs left behind by Australia’s economic boom.

Despite the fact Australia has enjoyed a sustained period of aggregate national prosperity since the early 1990s, it is equally the case that this growth has not been evenly shared among the population. Not only have social disparities persisted, they have got worse with certain communities appearing to be particularly vulnerable. Social and economic transitions that have characterised the past three or four decades have left the scars of change across society. For many social scientists and politicians an inclusive nation is one that not only sets in place mechanisms for dynamic economic and social change, but also ensures that all its citizens, living in its disparate cities, towns and regions, can participate in and benefit from this economic development.”

World first: U.S. city fights climate change and global oil depletion together

Posted in Uncategorized by laurel on February 20th, 2008

(Spokane, Wash.) Many cities have plans in place to reduce greenhouse gases, and a growing number are planning for declining global oil production. But the northwestern U.S. city of Spokane (pop. 199,400) has become the first to tackle climate change and global oil depletion together, marking a new step in local government responses to these increasingly urgent challenges.
Spokane Downtown by pgautier2004 on flickr, by-nc-sa

Announcing a new strategic planning effort to identify and address the impacts of climate change and energy security, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said: “By aggressively pursuing strategies now that prepare us for future energy and climate uncertainties, Spokane will manage challenges while increasing our competitive advantage over other cities. It just makes sense.” A citizen task force will lead the strategic planning effort, supported by work groups and technical assistance from city staff and other experts.

Spokane, the second-largest city in the state of Washington, has built on previous sustainability efforts to emerge as a new leader in the fight against climate change and global oil depletion. With the launch of this initiative, Spokane joins more recognized sustainability leaders in the U.S. like Seattle, which in 2005 launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and Portland, Ore., which in 2006 pioneered the nation’s first “Peak Oil Task Force” to identify the local risks posed by global oil depletion.

Both Seattle’s and Portland’s efforts have since served as models for other cities across the United States. Spokane’s new initiative promises to similarly blaze new trails for local governments.

Speaking to an overflow crowd at the February 6th launch of the Spokane initiative, Daniel Lerch of Post Carbon Institute said, “We’re entering uncharted territory with world oil production plateauing and atmospheric carbon reaching record levels. Cities need to identify the new risks they face, because there isn’t any state or federal government agency that’s going to do it for them.” Lerch, a national expert on local government responses to global oil depletion, authored the first major government guidebook on the subject, “Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty” (

Spokane’s initiative is part of a growing movement of local government leaders concerned about the local economic and social ramifications of global oil depletion. In the last few years, as oil prices have surged past historic highs, at least 10 cities in the U.S. and Canada have started task forces or released studies on the risks to local economies and local government services; in addition to Portland and Spokane, Oakland (Calif.), Austin (Tex.), Brattleboro (Vt.), San Francisco (Calif.) and Berkeley (Calif.) have all created task forces within just the last year.

With General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner and President George W. Bush both making groundbreaking statements last month about global oil demand outpacing global supply, and with concerns about energy prices growing among both local and state officials, 2008 may well be the year that global oil depletion joins global warming as a mainstream economic and political issue.

(City of Spokane press release about the citizen task force)

About Post Carbon Institute: Post Carbon Institute helps communities everywhere understand and respond to the challenges of fossil fuel depletion and climate change. Post Carbon conducts research, develops resources and assists groups and individuals who are leading their communities in making a smooth transition to a world that is no longer dependent on hydrocarbon fuels nor emitting climate-changing levels of carbon: the post-carbon world. Post Carbon is headquartered in Sebastopol, California with offices in Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Queensland, Australia. Post Carbon’s advisers and fellows include some of the world’s foremost experts on energy resource depletion and sustainability. For more information visit

About the Post Carbon Cities program: The Post Carbon Cities program of Post Carbon Institute helps local governments understand the challenges posed by peak oil and climate change, and provides resources for elected officials, city planners and others to develop plans and responses appropriate to their communities. The Post Carbon Cities website at is a forum for news, policy tools and other resources related to local government actions on peak oil and global warming. The Post Carbon Cities website was recently named a Top 10 Website of 2008 by, the top-ranked website for urban planning professionals in the United States.

About the Post Carbon Cities book: Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty (Post Carbon Press, 2007; 113 pages, $30) is the first major guidebook on peak oil and global warming for people who work with and for local governments in the United States and Canada. It provides a sober look at how these phenomena are quickly creating new uncertainties and vulnerabilities for cities of all sizes, and explains what local decision-makers can do to address these challenges.

Event – FT/ULI Sustainable Cities Award – Deadline change to 31 March

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on February 17th, 2008

Find details below from for the change in deadline to 31 March for submissions to the Financial Times Urban Land Institute Sustainable Cities Award.

“The FT/ULI Sustainable Cities Award has global relevance since nominations will be invited worldwide. The announcement of up to seven winners will be the closing highlight of the first-ever Sustainable Cities conference, which will be jointly hosted by the Financial Times and the Urban Land Institute in London on June 16, 2008.

The Sustainable Cities Award acknowledges exceptional examples of sustainable land use models that exhibit significant new ideas and perspectives for future practice, rather than simply celebrating past achievements. The winning initiatives will demonstrate success in advancing the market’s understanding and acceptance of the concept of sustainable development. This may be reflected in economic, social and environmental sustainability.”

To read the full article visit

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit research and education organization that “…initiates research that anticipates emerging land use trends and issues, proposing creative solutions based on that research”. Visit their website at

Sustainable Cities Net listed on the Forum on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development!

Posted in Movements by fedwards on February 15th, 2008

It’s now been just over a year since my role as Sustainable Cities Research Officer at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) began with the two corresponding websites – and – established a few months later. Both these sites are now becoming quite comprehensive and sophisticated. They’re also being noticed by others, such as the the Forum on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development. See below for more details.

The Forum on Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development is an attempt to outline the burgeoning field. Rather than looking broadly at sustainability, the Forum focuses on the way in which science and innovation can be conducted and applied to meet human needs while preserving the life support systems of the planet. It highlights people and programs that are studying nature-society interactions and applying the resulting knowledge to create a sustainability transition around the world.

Call for Abstracts – “Engaging for a Sustainable Future” – Due by 1 March

Posted in Events, Research, Visions by fedwards on February 13th, 2008

Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance National Conference, 9 – 11 July 2008
Sunshine Coast & Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

The AUCEA National Conference 2008 will be held from 9 – 11 July on the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts, Queensland, Australia and will be presented by conference host, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in collaboration with the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA).

The conference will commence on the campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast at Sippy Downs, but will be translocated on 10 July to Kingfisher Bay Resort on the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.

Under the banner of “Engaging for a Sustainable Future” the conference will address four sub-themes on University-Community Engagement:

Responding to the needs of the region / community
In this theme we are interested in those experiences and settings that highlight the determinants of creating quality and sustainable partnerships between the university and its region and community.

Measurement and evaluation
This will explore the way engagement processes and the outcomes to which they contribute are assessed in the institution and the community, and how continuous improvement results from these assessments.

Theory and policy development
These are lessons we have learnt locally and internationally that help us towards identifying the key factors in furthering the development of theory and institutional policy as it impacts on the sustainability of regions and communities through access to knowledge and university engagement.

Local engagement with a global importance
In this theme we are interested in those university engagement initiatives that are bringing about significant change at the
community level in areas that are globally important – now and into the future, across the economic, social, cultural and environmental spectrum, as well as providing engaged learning and research for students.

Tailored for the research and academic, corporate, and government sectors, the conference will present a dynamic program of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and presentations of cutting-edge research; while also incorporating case study break-out sessions on putting University-Community Engagement into practice.

For more information, or to download a copy of the Call For Papers, visit the Conference Website:

'to_feed_and_beautify' by sillydog

Model – London to adopt bicycle hire scheme

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on February 11th, 2008

According to Planet Ark News:

London will adopt a bicycle hire scheme similar to a popular initiative in Paris under a $1 billion cycling investment package announced by the mayor on Monday. Under the plan, part of a series of environmental measures due in coming days, 6,000 bicycles will be available for hire from ranks every 300 metres (600 feet) throughout the city centre“.

To read the full article visit

Research – Recently published paper on ‘Creating Better Communities’

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on February 11th, 2008

The Benevolent Society, based in Sydney, Australia, has recently released a report titled, “Creating better communities: A study of social capital creation in four communities“. This paper investigates how organisations like The Benevolent Society can increase the social capital in communities. Other questions raised include; ‘How can we work with government and business to create better communities?’. This report looks at what makes communities caring and inclusive, and the role that all institutions, and especially non-profit organisations, can play in creating better communities. For more information visit The Benevolent Society website at

Benevolent Society

Event – Symposium Living Co-operatively – 13 – 14 February, Sydney, Australia

Posted in Events, Models, Visions by fedwards on February 7th, 2008

I found this advertisement for “Symposium Living Co-operatively” on the Australian Policy Online website. Thought it sounded interesting as many people talk about the use of cooperatives to encourage sustainability. See more details below.

Symposium Living Co-operatively – Affordable Housing – Sustainable Communities
13 – 14 February 2008, Sydney NSW

The Living Co-operatively Consortium presents a symposium on the theme ‘Living Co-operatively’. The symposium will explore the complementary ideas of living co-operatively and housing, both fundamental concepts in a well balanced civil society. The symposium will be opened by the Hon Linda Burney, NSW Minister responsible for Fair Trading, Youth, Volunteering and Co-operatives. Keynote speaker, Gun-Britt MÃ¥rtensson, Swedish co-operative leader and international co-operative housing expert’s visit to Australia will provide an opportunity to learn from her vast experience, to reflect on the Australian situation, and inspire dialogue and ideas for future options.

For more details visit

Model – How does your garbage grow? A different spin on garbage collection

Posted in Models by fedwards on February 6th, 2008

Discussed online at E – The Environmental Magazine, are two different approaches to domestic garbage collection. Oh how garbage grows… Any thoughts?

….The Swiss discard their garbage in official state-produced bags that come in three sizes: 15-, 30- and 60-liter and cost around $1.50 for the medium bag. In other words, you pay real money for the amount of trash you create. On the eve of garbage day, then, one can look down the road and see neat stacks of identical blue bags, and there’s something soothing in this uniformity.

For the full article visit

'DSC_3643 Hodeidah, People of Garbage' by NYGUS

Sustainable Cities – Update from

Posted in Events, Models by fedwards on February 5th, 2008

Event reminder – Tomorrow night (Wednesday 6 February) – Han Brezet to speak

How do we harness creativity for a sustainable future? Design, Innovation, Opportunities and Dilemmas – A view from The Netherlands

Professor Han Brezet Head, Design for Sustainability (D4S), Technical University of Delft; City Innovator, Rotterdam; TV Judge, ‘Best Ideas of the Netherlands’

Prof Brezet’s work has supported many famous new products and entrepreneurial activities: the Rotterdam Sustainable Dance Club; Formula Zero (hydrogen fuel cell racing); the Friesland Solar-boat Challenge; the Mitka for Nike; portable electric vehicles;; home biogas generators; bamboo products… In the Netherlands, as in Australia, the reality of climate change is shifting the focus of design and innovation from eco-products to new services, new institutions new life-styles and to greater engagement of the community in re-inventing the future.

Sustainability Victoria, the City of Melbourne, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, and Design Victoria are pleased to invite you to this important free public lecture by an important ECO-LEAD visitor to Melbourne*.

Wednesday 6 February 2008 6pm to 7.30pm (followed by drinks) Carrillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne, Swanston Street, opposite end of Faraday Street, Carlton. Visit for a map of the campus.

Professor Han Brezet is head of the oldest Design for Sustainability program in Europe at the Technical University of Delft. He is the City Innovator for Rotterdam, charged with generating new interests, possibilities and collaborations, for the future of Rotterdam. He has focused on the creation of ‘creative city platforms for change’, bringing together designers and design students with industry, government and the community to envision new possibilities for Rotterdam’s development. He is also one of three judges for the “Best Ideas of The Netherlands” TV reality show – one of the most popular reality television shows on Dutch TV in which thousands of people compete to get their ‘invention’ to the market (think The New Inventors meets Australian Idol).

Prof Brezet is also a leader of the research and development program of the Cartesius Institute for Sustainable Innovation in Friesland and a Professorial Fellow of the Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society (ACSIS) at the University
of Melbourne.

This lecture will contribute to the development of Future Melbourne, the City of Melbourne’s plan for the future of the city in 2020 and beyond.

* ‘ECO-LEAD: Leading thinking in eco-innovation’ is a program of Sustainability Victoria and VEIL (the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab at the University of Melbourne).