Archive for March, 2008

Resource & Research – Outcomes from Forum on Healthy & Sustainable Cities

Posted in Events, Models, Research by fedwards on March 31st, 2008

The Oxford Health Alliance, www.oxha.org, is about preventing and reducing the global impact of chronic disease. Part of the Alliance’s work involves the topic of “healthy sustainable cities” in their research area of Environmental Design for Prevention.

Within this theme, the Oxford Health Alliance with Mandag Morgen recently ran the Forum on Healthy and Sustainable Cities at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, on Friday, 29 February 2008. Information about this one-day forum which focused on practical actions to progress the Copenhagen Agenda for Sustainable Cities can be found at http://www.oxha.org/initiatives/environmental-design/sydney-forum-2008/forum-on-healthy-and-sustainable-cities.

Forum on healthy and sustainable cities


Post Carbon Cities update – The Relocalization Network

Posted in Models, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on March 28th, 2008

The information below is sourced from The Relocalization Network’s Newsletter #17: March 2008. According to their website “Relocalization is a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture. The main goals of Relocalization are to increase community energy security, to strengthen local economies, and to dramatically improve environmental conditions and social equity“. The Post Carbon Cities section of this newsletter is a program of Post Carbon Institute which works to smooth the transition of local economies to a world no longer dependent on hydrocarbon fuels nor emitting climate-changing levels of carbon in the post-carbon world.

Post Carbon Cities: Update
We were happy to hear that Haines Borough, Alaska had formed a Peak Oil Task Force and just released its final report for public comment. Haines Borough (at 2,241 people) is the smallest municipality that we know of working on this issue – but perhaps you know another? Let us know!

The Brattleboro Peak Oil Task Force in Vermont made a presentation to the town’s Selectboard in February, urging them to take up preparation for peak oil in earnest. The Selectboard will be continuing that conversation when they meet again in March.

And zig-zagging back across the country to California, Oil Independent Oakland presented their final draft report to the Public Works Committee on February 26. Task forces are busy this year.”

To read the full story visit http://www.relocalize.net/newsletter/march08#3.


Comments on London’s transport systems

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on March 27th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #52, 25 March 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar, www.goingsolar.com.au/transport.

London Bike Plan
“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 throughout the city centre. London, which accounts for seven percent of Britain’s climate changing carbon emissions and is at the forefront of efforts by major cities around the world to combat global warming, plans to cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2025. The Paris bike scheme lets riders with an electronic card take a bike from one rank and return it at another rank anywhere in the city. It has proven popular, transforming traffic in the French capital since it came into operation last July.”
Ref: Jeremy Lovell, Reuters, 11/2/08

London Congestion Charge Increase
“Driver’s of fuel-guzzling cars will have to pay $53 a day to enter central London, triple the present general congestion charge. But the most fuelefficient vehicles will get a free ride.”
Ref: MX 13/2/08

London Low Emission Zone
“[Trucks over twelve tonnes driving around London] will be fined up to £200 per day if they are found to be over EU pollution standards in an attempt to improve the city’s poor air quality. …Cameras around the zone will check their number plates against a database of vehicles registered as meeting the EU’s ‘Euro’ limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) – two pollutants found in exhaust fumes that are blamed for serious health and environmental problems. …The scheme will be extended to cover buses and coaches in July and to large vans and minibuses in October 2010. Transport for London (TfL), which is implementing the £49 million project, says it will improve quality of life for Londoners and reduce the number of people suffering from asthma, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions, cutting healthcare bills by £250 million.”
Ref: World Business Council for Sustainable Development 4/2/08 www.wbcsd.org

'http://www.sustainablecitiesnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/318007849_f66f10a42a.jpg' by didbygraham


Research asks “What is a sustainably-sized city?”

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on March 26th, 2008

Please find an abstract below from a recent article, “China Urged To Shift Urban Growth To Supercities” by Alan Wheatley listed on the Planet Ark World News. It discusses the issue of cities’ size and sustainability – an increasingly important issue as more people shift to increasingly urban lifestyles all over the world. Can these larger centres be sustainable?

BEIJING – Shifting China’s model of urbanisation to favour huge supercities could boost per capita output, improve energy efficiency and help contain the loss of arable land, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) said on Monday.

Rapid urbanisation has been a major driver of Chinese growth over the past two decades and will become more so over the next 20 years; cities will account for 95 percent of China’s gross domestic product by 2025, up from 75 percent today, MGI said. But the institute, the economics research arm of consultants McKinsey & Co, said in a report that China could reap even greater economic benefits by adopting a more concentrated pattern of urban growth.

By enforcing land acquisition rules more strictly and by tweaking incentives for local officials, national policy makers could nurture 15 supercities with average populations of 25 million people, the report said.

To read the full article visit http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/47623/story.htm.


Technical problems fixed – SustainableCitiesNet is up and running again!

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Visions by fedwards on March 25th, 2008

After a spurt of complex, unexpected and for us, unusual technical glitches, SustainableCitiesNet.com is now back up and running again! We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We now invite you to contribute posts and comments to this site – to do this please click on the “contribute” tag above and follow the prompts. Alternatively email Ferne Edwards at fedwards @unimelb.edu.au.

The next SustainableMelbourne newsletter (which includes material on Sustainable Cities) is also due for distribution at the end of this week, Friday 28 March. If you would like to include material in this newsletter which now reaches 1000 people (!!!!) please remember to post your news by 28 March.


Apologies – SustainableCitiesNet.com is experiencing technical difficulties

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research, Uncategorized, Visions by fedwards on March 15th, 2008

The SustainableCitiesNet.com website has been experiencing some technical difficulties over the last week. Due to these problems we have been unable to update content on the site. People are working on fixing these problems to get the site up and running as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Sustainable Cities – Silicon Valley

Posted in Research by fedwards on March 12th, 2008

Much has been happening at the Sustainable Cities’ Sillicon Valley, http://www.sustainablesiliconvalley.org/. Recently listed on their website in addition to meetings and forums is the below documents pertaining to achieving greater urban sustainbility.

Notable New Documents on The Web
* High Tech: Low Carbon: The role of technology in tackling climate change, from Intellect, Feb. 2008
http://www.intellectuk.org/content/view/3799/
* Interim Report: Garnault Climate Change Review, ” Australia’s equivalent to the Stern Review, Feb. 2008
http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/pages/reports-and-papers
* GEMI Business & Climate Change Website, promoting best practices sharing amongst businesses on this environmental issue at http://www.gemi.org/businessandclimate/
* State of Green Business 2008, from GreenBiz.com answering the question: How are U.S. businesses doing in their quest to be more environmentally responsible. At http://www.greenbiz.com/
* Low Carbon Leaders: States & Regions, a summary of legislation and programs from leading regions around the world by The Climate Group at http://theclimategroup.org/assets/resources/Low_Carbon_Leader.States_and_Regions.pdf
* Funny Weather, a cartoon introduction to climate change at http://www.londonfreelance.org/funny_weather/index.html

For more information about the Sustainable Silicon Valley website visit http://www.sustainablesiliconvalley.org/.


Event – Conference: Corporate Climate Response – Countdown to the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) & Climate Change and the Food Industry

Posted in Events, Models, Research by fedwards on March 11th, 2008

A two day conference will be held on 20 & 21 May 2008 at the CBI Congress Centre, London. The focus of the first day is on helping companies prepare for the UK’s new mandatory carbon trading scheme – the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). The second day focuses specifically on climate change and the food industry. The day will look at climate impacts at each stage in the food chain from agriculture through to waste, and speakers include representatives from M&S, Tesco, McCain’s, Nestle, Cadbury Schweppes, The Co-operative Group, Innocent and Scottish & Newcastle.

Presentations include:
· An update from Defra on its dairy roadmapping project
· A presentation by Bidwells on the sustainability of Asda’s potato supply chain
· A case study by Nestle on water conservation in food production
· Tesco’s one year-on update on its carbon labelling project
· Cadbury’s presentation on its plan to cut its carbon footprint by 50%
· McCain’s case study on its goal to make chips from 70% renewable energy

For more information please visit http://www.greenpowerconferences.com/corporateclimateresponse/CCRLondon_08.html.

Green Power Conferences


Resource & Review – The Transition Town Movement & Handbook

Posted in Movements, Visions by fedwards on March 10th, 2008

See below a comment by Adam Fenderson from the Energy Bulletin about the Transition Towns movement and the recent book release for the Transition Handbook.

“The Transition Towns project (now Transition Initiatives) is the embodiment of community driven holistic regional planning, with a strong focus on food security. (It has grown out of the Energy Descent Action Plan concept which many may have heard of). For my money it’s the most exciting environmental movement in the world for it’s focus on opportunities and positives while being both radical, broad reaching and practical.

The Transition Handbook has just been released. Here’s a suitably gushy review:
By Richard Barnett, editor of Pulse.

The newly published Transition Handbook is so important that I am tempted just to confine this review to five simple words ‘You must read this book!’ But to do so would, of course, completely fail to communicate its message which is, I believe, so profound and inspiring that I want to do my very best to encourage its spread far and wide. Rob Hopkins is described on the book cover as ‘The Founder of the Transition Movement’. I would add to that that he is a superb communicator, visionary and one of the most important thinkers in our chaotic 21st century world.“”

Read more.


Research – Communication policies for urban village connections: beyond access?

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on March 5th, 2008

As our cities grow increasingly dense, we are challenged to find ways of maintaining and incorporating aspects of sustainability – social, environmental, economic and cultural – within our city limits. The report below discusses the issue of communication policies in such a context.

Communication policies for urban village connections: beyond access?
Marcus Foth and Aneta M. Podkalicka / Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation

The urban renewal strategies being rolled out in all Australian capitals result in an increasing number of residents living and sharing space in city areas. This densification process calls for a closer inspection of the communication policies and initiatives and their adequacy to support the socio-cultural needs and interactions of urban residents. In this paper we discuss findings to date which are derived from an ongoing media and communication study into the Kelvin Grove Urban Village, the Queensland Government’s flagship urban renewal project in Brisbane. Its master plan indicates that the key design aim is ‘to engender a strong sense of community and a safe sustainable environment’, and in the context of the proposed information and communication strategies to ‘deliver a viable and enduring connected community’. In this paper we examine how the master plan’s rhetoric about the importance of the information society and village connections has been translated into strategies and policies, and how these policies are now being converted into practical and tangible initiatives. We examine some of the strategies designed and employed to move beyond access and towards effective use of the communication infrastructure in order to enable and support social connections between urban village residents.

The full pdf can be downloaded at: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00009431/01/9431.pdf
For more information about this and other projects visit: http://www.ici.qut.edu.au/

Guangzhou Launches Urban Village Renovation Plan