Archive for June, 2009

Seeking: Climate Campaign Coordinator

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 30th, 2009

Source: Greenleap


The Nature Conservation Council of NSW are seeking a Climate Campaign Coordinator.

“Are you looking for a challenging role on the frontline of community engagement and organising on climate change?”

Applications close 9am, Monday 13 July, 2009.

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Re-using Infrastructure for Public Space: High Line, NY.

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 29th, 2009

Source: Mason Curry, Metropolis Magazine, Newsletter 06, 2009

Image: High Line by Mason Curry via Metropolis Magazine

New Yorkers have been reading about the High Line for at least three and a half years.  The project—which officially opened to the public on June 8—lives up to expectations. It is not only a beautiful and novel urban park, but a remarkably serene and even understated space.

“The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.”  The High Line

Source: Mason Curry, Metropolis Magazine, Newsletter 06, 2009

New Systems and Services: from selling furniture to selling space

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 25th, 2009

Source: Eva Hagberg, Metropolis Magazine,  Newsletter 06/2009

Image via Workspring

Part of the shift towards sustainable practices includes sharing resources rather than owning them outright.  Systems and Services design philosophy has long proposed shared office spaces as part of the new models of consumption.  Workspring is a successful US business model which is about to expand to its second site.

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Thank you and good bye!

Posted in Events by fedwards on June 23rd, 2009

Thank you all for your interest and support in the Sustainable Cities project over the last couple of years. I have now resigned from my position as Sustainable Cities Research Officer at VEIL. It’s been a very productive innings – has had over 200,000 unique visitors in the last year and along with we have posted more than 1,500 total posts of positive urban sustainability initiatives. The Sustainable Cities Round Tables, our face-to-face events, have showcased 110 local presenters, networking people across sustainability sectors and illustrating the extent of rich resources and knowledge that we have here in Melbourne. I have also enjoyed teaching the ‘Meals in Metropolis‘ course at RMIT University (check out the student work here), and writing the ‘Briefing Paper on Social Innovations in the Victorian Food System’ – soon to be released (to request a copy email Kirsten Larsen at klarsen@ The  highlight of the project was having this work recognised internationally when I moderated the ‘Sustainable cities and human life’ session at the 2008 World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea., and this Newsletter will continue on to be moderated by Kate Archdeacon, Design Research Assistant, VEIL. For future information about these projects please contact her directly at kfa@ Of course, we encourage you to continue to post your initiatives directly online – just go to “How to use this site” and follow the instructions. To keep up with VEIL’s work visit the website here.

I have now published the footage from the most recent (and possibly the last) ‘Sustainable Cities Round Table – The Energy to Change‘. In all these projects –, and the Sustainable Cities Round Tables – I have striven to showcase positive initiatives to inspire fresh, innovative and positive change towards sustainability. On that note, a question asked at the recent Sustainable Cities Round Table is very relevant: “What motivates you to change?” I hope the websites and events have also inspired such changes to become real.

Ferne Edwards
Sustainable Cities Research Officer, VEIL

Building the Smart Grid

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on June 23rd, 2009

This article discusses about investment in technology and innovation in energy sector to promote renewable energy.
Original article published in The Economist.

Smart Grid

“Even though the demands being placed on national electricity grids are changing rapidly, the grids themselves have changed very little since they were first developed more than a century ago. The first grids were built as one-way streets, consisting of power stations at one end supplying power when needed to customers at the other end. That approach worked well for many years, and helped drive the growth of industrial nations by making electricity ubiquitous, but it is now showing its age.”

To read more of the article visit The Economist.

Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automobile Age

Posted in Research by Devin Maeztri on June 22nd, 2009

Book: Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automobile Age
Author: Brian Ladd
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
City: Chicago
Year: 2008

A review by Milton Takei

Brian Ladd’s book, Autophobia,is a history of the love and hatred people have felt for the automobile. Autophobes such as myself can take comfort in how, from the beginning of the age of the automobile, some people were against cars, for example because motorists disturbed the tranquility of both the city and the countryside. The dismaying part is that the attraction of the automobile soon overwhelmed the opposition.

The book is particularly strong in pointing out the injuries and deaths that automobiles cause. The World Health Organization estimates that automobile incidents kill over a million people yearly.

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Second Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference

Posted in Events by Devin Maeztri on June 17th, 2009

Reclaiming Vacant Properties

Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference is organized by the National Vacant Properties Campaign.
Press Release of the conference can be downloaded from Smart Growth Around America.

“The National Vacant Properties Campaign was created in 2003 to help communities prevent, manage, and successfully redevelop vacant and abandoned properties – all to create more vibrant, thriving neighborhoods. We believe that such efforts yield more affordable housing opportunities, major fiscal and economic development benefits, and reduced threats to our public health, safety, and the environment. The Campaign is led by Smart Growth America, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, and the Genesee Institute.”
To find out more about the campaign visit National Vacant Properties Campaign.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on June 16th, 2009

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual award of $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2009 WinnerThe Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2009 WinnerThe Buckminster Fuller Challenge 2009 Winner

What they look from the entries are:

  • Comprehensive – addressing the interaction of key issues responsible for present conditions; aims to solve multiple problems without creating new ones
  • Anticipatory – factoring in critical future trends and needs as well as potential long term impacts of implementation
  • Ecologically responsible – reflecting nature’s underlying principles while enhancing the Earth’s life-support systems
  • Feasible – relying on current technology and existing resources
  • Verifiable – able to withstand rigorous empirical testing
  • Replicable – able to scale and adapt to a broad range of condition

See the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award winner.

What should be done with dead malls?

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on June 15th, 2009

This article discusses about redeveloping vacant malls into a more sustainable building.
Original article posted by Sara Wolfson, published in Smart Growth Around America.


“But people kept going, and new malls kept going up. But the traditional shopping mall as we know it is all but extinct. Developers have trended towards the open-air ‘lifestyle center’ – an imitation of the downtown center that malls were once replacing – but even those are struggling in today’s economy.”

To read more of the article visit Smart Growth Around America.

New York Traffic Calming

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on June 12th, 2009

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #107, 2 June 2009, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on sustainable transport issues.

“Janette Sadik-Khan, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), spoke via video, on the remarkable improvements which have been made to New York’s streets. New Yorkers have one third of the carbon footprint of an average American, so as Sadik-Khan pointed out, if you want to do the planet a favour, move to New York City. Commuting by bicycle has already been increased by 35% between 2007 and 2008. DOT has a program for quickly and cheaply transforming streets, moving away from car-domination to ‘complete streets’.

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