Archive for April, 2008

Update & Resource – Sustainable Melbourne & VEIL Policy Research Report

Posted in Research, Visions by fedwards on April 30th, 2008

Research – Launch of Policy Research Report by the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab has just released its first policy research report and it’s all about food!

The report, “Sustainable and Secure Food Systems for Victoria: What do we know? What do we need to know?” discusses the environmental challenges relating to the food system, examining:
– how the production and consumption of food impacts on the environment; and
– the risks and vulnerabilities of the food system to environmental change and social responses (such as policy aiming to reduce environmental impacts)

The report considers: direct impacts of climate change; energy, greenhouse emissions and responses to these; resource constraints such as water, land, oil and agricultural inputs and depleted stocks (eg. fish); biodiversity (ecological and agricultural); waste; and health and nutrition.

The report also discusses strategies and innovations that are being employed to manage environmental risks and reduce impacts (including low-input production methods, changing distribution systems such as farmers’ markets, and consumer food choices). It considers the extent of their potential contribution and identifies opportunities for further investigation or support.

The report finds that there are significant and urgent challenges to the security and sustainability of the food system. It also identifies many opportunities for technological and social innovation to reduce exposure to environmental risks and resource constraints.

The full report, and a summary document (containing just the main points and recommendations), can be downloaded from

Policy Research Report by the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab

Event – Creative Cities Summit 2.0, Detroit – 13-15 October 2008

Posted in Events, Visions by fedwards on April 28th, 2008

Creative Cities Summit 2.0 is a next-generation look at how communities around the world are integrating innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts and culture and business to make vibrant economies. The summit brings together change agents including architects, designers, urban planners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students, educators and community leaders to share their experiences, projects, successes and failures as together we re-imagine our cities.

Summit topics will include: Developing Entrepreneurship & Talent, Creating a Sense of Place, Encouraging Diversity of Thinking and of Being, and Establishing Green and Sustainable Communities.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Cool Cities initiative, part of the MSHDA Urban Revitalization division, is a key organizer for the conference. The initial Creative Cities Summit held in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2004, was one of the first creative economy events in the United States.

To find out more visit:

Creative Cities Summit 2.0

Resource – The American Institute of Architects selects 10 Cities for Sustainability Program

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on April 25th, 2008

The article below, “AIA Selects 10 Cities for Sustainability Program“, by Nicholas Tamarin in Interior Design describes how the American Institute of Architects has selected 10 cities from around the USA to participate in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team, a community assistance program through which architects and local stakeholders map out a plan for sustainability. See an abstract below. For the full story visit

AIA Selects 10 Cities for Sustainability Program
by Nicholas Tamarin
Interior Design · April 15, 2008

“Cities receiving technical assistance under the program include: Detroit; Tampa; New Orleans; Fort Worth; Windsor, California; Morristown, New Jersey; Parma, Ohio; Fellsmere, Florida; Kauai, Hawaii; and Leon Valley, Texas. The SDAT review panel chose the communities based on applications outlining the economic, environmental, and social challenges facing their regions. Detroit, for example, is hoping to address water conservation, land use, affordable housing, and urban decline, while Tampa is working on revitalizing its urban core, a multi-modal transit system, and affordable housing. Other issues facing the various municipalities range from historic preservation and outdated zoning codes to building community parks and pedestrian-friendly corridors.

“The SDAT program is in its third year and continues to help communities address neighborhood revitalization, transportation infrastructure challenges, as well as offer sound strategies to improve air and water quality, and local economic development,” says David Downey, managing director of the AIA Center for Communities by Design.””

For the full story visit

Comment – Sustainable Advice on Cities

Posted in Uncategorized by fedwards on April 24th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #56, 22 April 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar,

Sustainable Advice on Cities
“A leading international city planner is calling for the 2020 summit to consider radical changes to the way Australians live, work and move around their cities. Prominent Danish urban designer Professor Jan Gehl says Australia’s obsession with cars comes at the expense of the liveability of its big cities and the health of its citizens. … But he says it is not too late to change. ‘Originally, we made the cities for people but then, in the past 50 years, gradually we’ve forgotten more and more about that and now many of them have been made more and more for cars’, he said. ‘I remember a big sign in Perth saying, “Your car is welcome to the city”, but we always whispered, “You’re not” … Australian cities – the suburbs and right down to the city centres – have been very, very influenced by traffic engineer thinking, absolutely too much compared to other places in the world.’ … ‘When we started recently in Sydney, we found that in certain streets, half the walking time was spent waiting to cross the street … We are suggesting that it should become much more easy to walk in the cities and that cars generally are parked at a longer distance from where you work or where your shopping opportunities are. Everybody would like a lively city, an attractive city, a safe city, a sustainable city and a city which invites more healthy lifestyles. By being sweet to the pedestrians and sweet to the bicyclists, you can actually accomplish quite a bit of all these goals’… Professor Gehl says Australian cities will undergo a ‘very marked change’ over the next 10 to 15 years because of concerns about petrol prices, climate change, obesity and its cost to the health system.”
Ref ABC News Online 18/4/08

Australia urged to overhaul cities

Visions – Web resources of future city thinking

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on April 23rd, 2008

Links to Future City thinking from Architects with water as a role:

Listen at:

See designs at:

See New York City at:

See Chicago at:

See LA at:

Event – 2nd Annual Green Roofs Australia Conference, Brisbane, Australia – 18 – 20 June 2008

Posted in Events, Models, Movements, Research by fedwards on April 22nd, 2008

Please find a message below from Ben Nicholson, Green Roofs Australia.

Dear green roofers and green roof enthusiasts,

The second annual Green Roofs Australia conference is taking place from 18 – 20 June 2008 in Brisbane and we are currently calling for anyone interested in presenting at the conference to submit a 500 word abstract of their topic to the committee for consideration.

The annual GRA conference provides an excellent opportunity for presenters to share information and publicise their efforts in forwarding green roof and wall technologies in Australia. This year the conference will aim to cover a wide range of topics, from the trial and error efforts of ‘mum and dad’ green roofers to the experiences of large extensive commercial practitioners.

If you are interested in presenting a topic at the 2008 Green Roofs Australia conference, please follow the link below to submit your 500 word abstract – you will be contacted in due course by a member of the committee:

If you are interested in registering to attend the conference, you may do so via the link below:

And if you are interested in sponsoring the conference via one of our sponsorship packages, you are more than encouraged to follow the link below:

Finally, if you would like to catch up on what’s been happening in the world of green roofs and walls, check out the Green Roofs Australia website:

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you at the GRA conference in June!

Kind Regards,
Ben Nicholson
VIC-TAS Coordinator

Green Roofs Conference

Model – Greening the burbs by growing in bags!

Posted in Models, Visions by fedwards on April 22nd, 2008

Check out this project called, VACANT LOT, started in May 2007 with support from the Shoreditch Trust, Arts Council Groundwork East London. What-if: projects together with local residents of an inner city housing estate in Shoreditch have come up with a novel solution: GROW YOUR GREENS IN A BAG.

A formerly inaccessible and run-down plot of housing estate land has been transformed into a beautiful oasis of green. Seventy 1/2 tonne bags of soil have been arranged to form an allotment space. Within their individual plots, local residents are carefully tending a spectacular array of vegetables, salads, fruit and flowers. A new sense of community has emerged.

For more information visit

Model – Weaning villagers off supermarkets

Posted in Models by fedwards on April 21st, 2008

The village of Martin, Hampshire, UK, is an excellent example of how a small town can reconnect and recontrol a large proportion of their food system. 101 of Martin’s 164 households have joined the Future Farms cooperative for an annual £2 fee. The “community allotment” on 8 acres of land raises 45 types of vegetable in addition to pigs and chickens. Produce is priced on a ‘production cost plus 20%’ basis, and is sold to all villagers, not just members, at a weekly market at the village hall. Future Farms is careful to avoid the use of the word ‘organic’, but says they “work the enterprise on an extensive system using the minimum of chemical inputs”.

For more information about Martin visit Change Alley and “The Real Good Life”.
For more information about the Future Farm cooperative model visit

Future Farms - Change Alley

Update – – Seeking feedback on urban food map

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on April 21st, 2008

Seeking feedback for VEIL Food Map, Melbourne,

As part of our research at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, VEIL , we are currently designing an online, urban food production map of Melbourne. We are asking people involved in the local food / sustainabilty sector to contribute feedback to the design of this project.

We hope that the VEIL food map will:
• Record the quantity & variety of urban food production present within Melbourne;
• Allow Melbournians to contribute data to this site;
• Form a database for people to use to design new products & services towards greater sustainability within Melbourne;
• Provide evidence that urban food production currently exists within Melbourne in order to foster greater policy support of this industry.

The type of produce to be recorded on this website is food that is primary produce, ie. fresh & not value-added/ processed . These food examples must be larger than household production. Examples of urban food production models include: community gardens, commercial production and market gardens, shared private gardens (such as extended family/ group of households), & food produced on public space (such as street edge gardening, nature strips & street trees).

To test the site and contribute feedback visit

To move around the map:
• Either double-click the cursor to zoom in or use the scale on the top left-hand corner to zoom in or out;
• Hold the cursor down to drag the image from side-to-side;
• Swap from ‘map’ to ‘satellite’ to ‘both’ views by clicking on the boxes on the top right-hand side.

To submit or edit data:
• First, check if the site has already been added. If it hasn’t, submit data on
• If you would like to edit data on the site please email the details to me at fedwards

Please email all feedback to Ferne Edwards at fedwards

Model – Carbon-free beer anyone?

Posted in Events, Models by fedwards on April 18th, 2008

Fosters launches new ‘green’ beer
Fosters Australia, (the beer brand – but they own wine and spirits too) has recently launched a ‘carbon offset’ beer – see here for the press release and here for further details:

The company has also published its 2007 sustainability report. The energy target is to reduce energy use per case by 10% by 2011.

Fosters launches new 'green' beer