Archive for July, 2008

Model – Urban farms

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 30th, 2008

The abstract below is from Metropolis Magazine, Visit the post to see some incredible pictures of how some people transform urban spaces into production zones.

Urban Farm
By Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson
Friday, June 20, 2008 5:17 pm

Summer kicks off in earnest today with the official opening of the annual Young Architects Program installation at P.S. 1. This year, WORK Architecture was selected for their ambitious vision of transforming the angular concrete courtyard into a lush urban farm. We got a sneak peak of P.F.1 (Public Farm One) last night.

Architects Amale Andraos and Dan Wood created a living structure of plants and vegetables out of inexpensive, recyclable materials. Large tubes of coated cardboard filled with a clever combination of fabric inserts and soil are connected into a sweeping wave, creating a kind of flying carpet of food. It’s as if a farm has blown in and landed in Queens. (It reminds me a bit of Bill McDonough’s plans for rooftop farms in the Chinese city of Liuzhou).

Read more:

Urban Farm

Model – Electric Cars in Paris

Posted in Models, Research by Rob Eales on July 29th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #68, 15 July 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar,

Electric Cars in Paris
“First came self-service bicycles. Now Paris is to provide electric cars that drivers can pick up and drop off anywhere in the city. Mayor Bertrand Delanoe has announced that, from the end of next year, 4000 electric cars will be placed around Paris and its outskirts for drivers in the scheme to help themselves for short journeys. … In less than a year, Paris’ army of cheap, on-street hire-bicycles, called Velib, has transformed transport habits. The company behind that scheme, JCDecaux, has had talks with the City of Melbourne to launch a similar scheme in Australia. The fleet of carbon-neutral hire cars, called Autolib, is the Socialist Mayor’s next phase in green transport. Paris city hall said 700 Autolib pick-up points would be set up, including 200 underground. Recharging points would be scattered across Paris.

‘There will be a computerised system which allows you as soon as you collect the car to announce where you’ll drop it off, so there will be a parking space available’, Mr Delanoe said. It would operate much like the Velib bike scheme. Users would take out an annual subscription or be able to approach a hire point on the spur of the moment or perhaps pay by using their public transport pass. One target group is young couples with children who occasionally need a car but cannot afford to run their own.”
Ref: Angelique Chrisafis, The Age, 21/6/08, URL

Event – 21st EAROPH World Congress and Mayors’ Caucus on 21-24 October 2008

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 28th, 2008

Please find information below about the 21st EAROPH World Planning & Human Settlement Congress and Mayors’ Caucus as listed on the Globalism Research Centre Bulletin July 2008,

Japan will be holding the 21st Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Housing (EAROPH) World Congress and Mayors’ Caucus on 21-24 October 2008. EAROPH is a non-government multi-sector organisation encompassing the private, public and academic sector. It was established to foster the exchange of insights and experiences among countries in the EAROPH region. The objective of this 21ST EAROPH World Congress and Mayors’ Caucus is to contribute to city development in respective member countries of EAROPH by holding lively discussions on these subjects.

Dates: 21 to 24 October 2008
Egret Himeji and Awaji Yumebutai
International Conference Centre, Japan

For more information:
Email secretariat@
Website (including registration):


Research – Transport research in Sri Lankan cities

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on July 28th, 2008

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #68, 15 July 2008, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar,

Ultra Light Rail – Report for Sri Lanka
In 2007 I visited Sri Lanka and met with M.L. Mohamed Yehiya, the Assistant Director of the Urban Development Authority in Hambantota on the far south coast of the island. On December 26, 2004, Hambantota was severely damaged by a tsunami, and the short term solution was to relocate the residents a few kilometres inland.

Presently, much grander plans are in preparation to develop the region into a second capital, with the extension of the heavy rail and the creation of a seaport and international airport. Greater Hambantota is being planned for a population of around three million people.

Sri Lanka is particularly dependent on imported oil and dirty, noisy and crowded buses. A cursory glance at the plans for Greater Hambantota indicated the potential for a tram system running from renewable sources of energy and so I offered to prepare a report on the potential for cost-effective ‘Light Trams’. The report was completed by mid-2008 in time for a visiting delegation of planners from Sri Lanka as part of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Tsunami Reconstruction Project.

I would particularly like to thank PIA for their assistance in preparing the report and facilitating meetings.

Follow is an extract from the Executive Summary:

  • New cities, such as Greater Hambantota, offer a rare opportunity to implement sustainable design at the planning stage. A key component of good urban design is the inclusion of sustainable modes of transport. This report puts the case for one mode, known as ‘Light Tram’ or ‘Ultra Light Rail’.
  • Rising fuel prices, greenhouse gases, air pollution, demographic changes and rising expectations for increased mobility provide the imperative to consider innovative and cost-effective transit modes.
  • Purchase of Light Tram vehicles is only part of the solution. The tram routes must be carefully considered to ensure they cater for both current and future demand.
  • It is essential to make sure that all building and tourist development relates to the transit systems. The best way to achieve this is through clusters of urban villages connected by sustainable transport corridors – a concept known as ‘Pearls-on-a-String (where the ‘pearls’ are the urban villages and the ‘string’ represents the transit corridors.)
  • The key reasons for considering good transport planning include: mobility; safety; sustainability; sociability; amenity; economics; and equity.
  • Like many countries, Sri Lanka has a precedent of tram usage (in Colombo).
  • Greater Hambantota lends itself to the utilisation of a tram system particularly given the establishment of the new sea port, the new airport, and the railway line extension. Also, with the establishment of a new town centre, it is important to maintain the connection to the existing township along with the amenities and commercial activities that the coast provides.
  • The tram system could be used for commuters, incidental travellers, tourists, and for the movement of freight.
  • A ‘Light Tram’ system is more cost effective than a conventional tram or light rail system, being less significantly expensive to install and operate.
  • A ‘Light Tram’ system could be run from renewable forms of power (such as hydro, wind, solar and/or bio fuel) providing the most ecologically responsible way of facilitating people to move around Greater Hambantota.
  • Light trams are commercially available from England but they must be designed and constructed to suit Sri Lankan conditions.

Provocations – A four-day work week?

Posted in Models by fedwards on July 25th, 2008

Discussed recently in the Post-Carbon Cities Newsletter for July,, was the idea of a four-day week driven by energy consumption concerns. See the article below. To view the newsletter visit

“A four-day work week? State workers in Utah are now working four-day weeks. So are county workers in Marion County, Florida. A handful of cities in Nevada, California and Arizona are experimenting with the idea, and Suffolk County, New York and the state of West Virginia are also considering it.

In both private and public offices, the four-day work week is an increasingly popular response to high energy costs. Cutting work days saves employees money because it reduces their commuting by 20%. And if the four days are the same for all employees, it can also save city, county or state governments money in facilities. Marion County officials expect this measure to save them $250,000 in energy costs this year. North Miami hopes to save $200,000 by closing its city hall one day a week – but some argue that there may be tradeoffs in service.

That last point is debatable, because while the facilities will be open fewer days, longer hours may make services more available for citizens who work during the day. At any rate, the four-day workweek is part of the toolbox for officials dealing with energy uncertainty.”

'productive weekend1' by Divwerf

Invitation to the Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 12 August

Posted in Events, Models, Research, Visions by fedwards on July 24th, 2008 and the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab in association with the University of Melbourne’s Entrepreneurs Week would like to invite you to:

The Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Tuesday 12 August night, 6 – 8pm
Copeland Theatre, Economics & Commerce Building
University of Melbourne
RSVP now to save your seat at rsvp

The challenge of climate change presents many opportunities for new sustainable ventures. Entrepreneurs working in this space are able to creatively develop innovative solutions that have environmental, social and economic benefits, yet like all entrepreneurial ventures it is not without risks. At this Sustainable Cities Round Table we will showcase examples of proactive entrepreneurs who have taken this step and bravely gone where no mainstream business has gone before!

The evening will feature a series of short presentations, musical interludes, networking opportunities and more!

Speakers include:
Nick Savaidis, Etiko Fair Trade;
Mitch O’Sullivan, Waterwall Solutions;
Samantha Parsons, Family of Sam design;
Alexi Lynch, Australia Manager, Cities for Climate Protection, ICLEI & Co-founder, the Environmental Jobs Network;
Cathy Parry, Owner of Ron D Swan: Bags and Cycling Accessories;
Bruce Rowse, Director, CarbonetiX;
Cam Hines, Co-founder & owner, Mountain Goat Brewery;
Elizabeth Boulton, Founder, Logistick – Sustainable Supply Chain Solutns;
Aldo Penbrook, Central Victorian Carbon Auditing Service.

The Sustainable Cities Round Tables are a regular series of events that showcase local environmental initiatives and encourage networking for people working in urban sustainability issues across the government, academic, industry and community sectors. To view footage of previous events visit

Please forward this invitation to others who may be interested in attending.


Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Cities Research Officer
Victorian Eco-Innovation Laboratory (VEIL)
Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society (ACSIS)

CALL FOR PAPERS – GREEN TECH Conference – by 30 September

Posted in Events, Movements, Research by fedwards on July 23rd, 2008

Green TECH 08,, is proud to present an international Trade Show and Conference with a core focus on green building, sustainable design and clean technology . GreenTECH 08 special features include SRD ChangeX 08 , Green Inventors Showcase , Eco House of the Future Competition and a Green Living Zone. Please find more information about the event below.

International and Australian authorities will present keynote topics in their respective fields of expertise. Subject categories will include:
Built Environment
Carbon Trading
Climate Change Science
Clean and/or Renewable Energy
Ecological Sustainable Development
Energy and/or Water Security
Energy Efficient Building Design
Water & Energy Conservation
Environmental Engineering
Exhibitor Product Launch
Government Policy
Low Emission Technology
New Inventions
Permaculture Design
Sustainable Cities
Sustainable Product Design

Steps to apply to present a seminar at Green TECH 08:
Email your seminar title, a brief overview and biodata to: info (include any website details)
On our review and acceptance you will be required to fill in a Confirmation Form.
Submission deadline: September 30, 2008

Review GREX 07 speakers here:

Seeking competition entries – Make Some Green – due 1 October

Posted in Events by fedwards on July 23rd, 2008

Keeseh Studio invites students and design enthusiasts to celebrate the pursuit of ecodesign through an international competition to utilize waste material.

A given manufacturing facility creates many copies of a product; therefore they create many copies of their waste material as well. Waste material can be used as raw material for other products or processes; this concept is known as upcycling.

The goal of the competition is to promote upcycling by encouraging the use of wasted materials to generate innovative designs. This competition will provide a stepping stone to help educate viewers of the vast opportunities and future development of environmentally friendly processes, materials, and products.

All entries must be received digitally or by mail no later than October 1st. 3 entries will win media coverage and recognition of their product or process and one will win a cash prize of $1000. Visit for more details.

Resource – Live Webinar: Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods Project

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on July 23rd, 2008

Please find information below about “The Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods: Strategic Local Climate Solutions”, originally published by the National Association of Counties.

The Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods: Strategic Local Climate Solutions, a web-based resource, provides strategies, tips, and tools that counties can use to take immediate action on climate change through: green building, green neighborhoods, and sustainable infrastructure. The Playbook is designed both for communities that are considering making the first steps toward these, as well as for those who want to take existing efforts to a new level.

This webinar from the National Association of Counties addresses how counties can put the Playbook for Green Buildings and Neighborhoods to use. This is just one of a series of webinars that NACo is offering through the Green Government Initiative.

Registration is required; the webinar will run from 1:30pm – 3:30pm Eastern time.

In addition to county case studies, this webinar will cover:
An explanation of the link between climate change and green building, neighborhoods and sustainable infrastructure
How to utilize the playbook, regardless of what stage your county is at
Additional resources available to assist your county in your efforts.

To find out more about this resource visit

Playbook for Green Buildings

Event & call for papers – THE FIFTH MAGRANN CONFERENCE – 6 – 17 April, 2009

Posted in Events, Research by fedwards on July 22nd, 2008

Date: April 16-17, 20091

Location: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Climate Change in South Asia: Governance, Equity and Social Justice

Call for Papers
Climate change presents significant challenges for South Asia. While climate change is a global phenomenon, mitigation and adaptation are regional in character. Residents of agricultural and resource dependent areas increasingly face threats to livelihoods due to alterations in precipitation and temperature, such as the disruption of the South Asian monsoon. Concurrently, within South Asia’s dynamic and rapidly growing cities, the increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme climatic events may disrupt economic and social life. Although the effects of climate change on social and environmental systems are likely to be highly uneven (even between communities within South Asia), present trends in mitigation suggest that impoverished regions and populations may bear the brunt of these changes. This discrepancy is also evident in the ability to adapt and respond to climate change. Therefore, addressing climate change within the South Asian context will require new types of social institutions, cooperative responses and new forms of governance. In all cases, efforts to respond, mitigate, or adapt to climate change raise issues of equity and social justice, posing both challenges and opportunities for civil society.

We invite papers that address climate change issues within any country or region of South Asia. Preference will be given in paper selection to those that connect their topic to one or more of the broad conference themes of governance, equity, and social justice. Potential topic areas for papers include but are not limited to:

  • Legal, Political, and Economic Frameworks for Responding to Climate Change
  • Cultural, Social and Gender Implications of Climate Change
  • Natural Resources Management and Land Use Practices Under Climate Change
  • Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Cities and Urbanizing Regions
  • Implications for Agriculture Under Changing Climatic and Hydrologic Regimes
  • Technological Responses and Innovations

Papers are solicited from established scholars, as well as recent PhDs and advanced graduate students. Partial support will be available to presenters to defray the costs of travel. Abstracts of 250 words or less should be sent to the conference organizers on or before September 15, 2008. Final papers (approximately 4,000-6,000 words) will be due by March 1, 2009.


  • Conference Email:
  • Conference Website:
  • Conf. Organizers: Trevor Birkenholtz; Monalisa Chatterjee; Robin Leichenko; Martin Bunzl; Sumit Guha
  • Conference Sponsors: Department of Geography, Initiative on Climate and Social Policy, and Office of International Programs, Rutgers University