Archive for August, 2009

Update: Eco-Suburb Hammarby Sjostad

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 31st, 2009

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Image: Sweden.Se

You might have seen the proposals for Hammarby-Sjostad, a waterfront district in the center of Stockholm, when the development won the World Clean Energy awards back in 2007.  The district has followed a comprehensive sustainability plan as it redeveloped from a former industrial site into a residential area. This means that everything from the construction materials (and their transport) to the energy, water, transportation, and waste systems for residents was designed with environmental considerations in mind.

The CityFix is currently hosting a video interview with some of the residents and planners who live and work on the site now that it’s up and running.  Check it out for a blast of good news.


National Electric Vehicle Festival

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on August 28th, 2009

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter

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The Festival is hosted by the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA). There will be vehicles old and the new, including: a 1917 Detroit Electric and an ultra-new Tesla Roadster electric super car, plus old and new production and converted cars and bikes on display, stands, displays, fun for the kids – and lots, lots more. The event will coincide with Canberra’s annual floral festival, ‘Floriade’.

Date: 4th October, 2009 9 am – 4 pm

Venue: Old Parliament House Lawns, Canberra

More Info: http://CanberraEV.org/festival or contact: billgresham@ gmail.com

Source: Going Solar Transport Newsletter


Bus Rapid Transit System, Bogota

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 27th, 2009

Source: By Degrees, NY Times

From “Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities“, Elisabeth Rosenthal

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Image: Scott Dalton, NY Times

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Like most thoroughfares in booming cities of the developing world, Bogotá’s Seventh Avenue resembles a noisy, exhaust-coated parking lot — a gluey tangle of cars and the rickety, smoke-puffing private minibuses that have long provided transportation for the masses.

But a few blocks away, sleek red vehicles full of commuters speed down the four center lanes of Avenida de las Américas. The long, segmented, low-emission buses are part of a novel public transportation system called bus rapid transit, or B.R.T. It is more like an above-ground subway than a collection of bus routes, with seven intersecting lines, enclosed stations that are entered through turnstiles with the swipe of a fare card and coaches that feel like trams inside.

Versions of these systems are being planned or built in dozens of developing cities around the world — Mexico City, Cape Town, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ahmedabad, India, to name a few — providing public transportation that improves traffic flow and reduces smog at a fraction of the cost of building a subway.

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Seeking Innovation for Behaviour Change

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on August 26th, 2009

Source: Food Climate Research Network

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Image: Earth Hour,  The Mirror

Defra , UK (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), wishes to commission a programme of action based research to test innovative approaches for encouraging and in turn potentially catalysing pro-environmental behaviours and sustainable patterns of consumption.

Informed by the available evidence base, the particular emphasis is to move towards influencing behaviour through testing interventions which focus on the internal and/or (where possible) external causes of behaviour.

The findings will inform the design and practical application of policies, communications initiatives and strategies to encourage pro-environmental behaviour.

Projects should focus on ways of promoting pro-environmental behaviour in relation to one or more of the following pro-environmental behavioural themes:

· Energy efficiency/ usage in the home

· Waste and recycling · Water efficiency/ usage in the home

· Personal transport (including tourism)

· Purchase of eco-friendly products

For more information visit the funding site.

The deadline for applications is 9th September 2009.


TapIt water bottle refill network

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on August 25th, 2009

Source: Springwise

TapItWater

New York’s water-toting crowd has a convenient new way to be sustainable while staying hydrated, as a tap water refilling service officially launches in the city. TapIt is a community program that enables people to refill their water bottles at participating cafés, completely free of charge.

TapIt aims to help people stay healthy and hydrated without relying on single-use plastic bottles. Any restaurant or café with a soda dispenser or tap that gives clean drinking water can sign up as a partner. Thirsty consumers can find taps online or via TapIt’s iPhone app, and are provided with information on the type of water that’s available, telling discerning customers whether the water’s filtered or non-filtered, room temperature or chilled.

But the TapIt network is not just about going bottle-less; less bottles, less recycling, less water privatization and extraction, it’s about understanding why those things are a problem and finding new and sustainable 21st century solutions.

Think your city is ready to start a local water movement?


Local Business Networks: Recycled Oil Candles

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 24th, 2009

Source: Springwise
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Image: Filt candles via Springwise

Tokyo candlemakers Filt don’t have to travel far to source their raw materials: they’re located directly above Chubby, a cafe that’s happy to hand over its used cooking oil to Filt, which carefully filters the oil to remove odors and sediment. After adding pigments and a vanilla scent, the filtered oil is poured into glass jars that the company collects from local recycling bins. The candles come in various sizes and—despite their humble origins—sell for artisanal prices of JPY 2,000–3,600 (USD 20–36) at local boutiques and at Chubby, which also uses the candles on its own tables.

Bringing their recycling efforts full circle, Filt asks customers to keep their empty jars for storage, or to return them so that they can be made into new candles (no word on whether that entitles customers to a discount on their next purchase).

Source: Springwise


Sustainable Transport Panel, Perth

Posted in Events by NetworkingWA on August 21st, 2009

Source: Networking WA

With Sustainable September fast approaching, this event will discuss the issues surrounding Public Transport. The panel, including Senator Scott Ludlam (Greens) will discuss the topic of ‘Sustainable Cities’ and opportunities, pros and cons of new ‘sustainable’ transportation methods.  The event will be run in a ‘debate’ type forum, with a panel and chair leading the discussion, and opportunities for the audience to ask Panelists questions around the themes of discussion.

September 2 – 4:30pm for drinks and canapes

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Water Labels on Food

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on August 19th, 2009

Source: Cleanfood, the Future Climate newsletter

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Table from “Water labels on food – Issues and recommendations” Ruth Segal & Tom MacMillan (July 2009)

“A new label proposed in the UK will ask consumers to consider the efficiency and impact of water use on the food products they buy. But rather than detailing figures on the actual amount of water used in production, it will indicate how responsible the company has been in using water. Tom MacMillan, the executive director for UK think tank and advisory body, the Food Ethics Council, admits labels aren’t the answer to everything. “One of the reasons labels can be useful is that actually companies clean their act up before they even stick the label on,” he says. “So it’s not just about giving shoppers information. It’s also about making companies think very seriously about what their impacts are on the environment.”” ABC Rural News.

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Rivers and Cities: Smart design

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 17th, 2009

Source: Sustainable Design blog

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Image: Sasha via picasa

The Dreisam river runs straight through a large portion of Freiburg, in  Germany.  It is diverted throughout the town for a variety of purposes. The river, which had been artificially constructed away from its original flow in the late 1800’s, is surrounded by greenery and excellent bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The city has an unusual system of gutters (called Bächle) that run throughout its centre. These Bächle, once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock, are constantly flowing with water diverted from the Dreisam. These Bächle were never used for sewage, as such usage could lead to harsh penalties, even in the Middle Ages. During the summer, the running water provides natural cooling of the air, and offers a pleasant, gurgling sound.

The river contributes to drainage for the city helping the water flow through parts of the city easily (no flooding due to diversion).  People along side the river use it for irrigating their plants, crops, and gardens.  There are many areas for recreation such as swimming, biking, walking, exercise for people and their pets, and a calm place to sit.  It is also a prime area for artists to perform graffiti and “rock art” giving them creative spots away from buildings and downtown.

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Naked Streets, Shared Spaces

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 14th, 2009

Sources: GoingSolar, Enchanted Isle, Times Online and Sydney Morning Herald

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Image via streetsblog

Hans Monderman (1945 – 2008) pioneered the concept of the “naked street” by removing all the things that were supposed to make it safe for the pedestrian – traffic lights, railings, kerbs and road markings. He thereby created a completely open and even surface on which motorists and pedestrians “negotiated” with each other by eye contact.

Monderman worked tirelessly to prove that such roads are safer and, more than 25 years after his first experiment in the Netherlands, streets all over the world are being redesigned to the Monderman “shared space” model. He passionately believed that segregating cars and pedestrians was wrong and an imposition from the state. Instead, he claimed a natural interaction between the driver and the pedestrian would create a more civilised environment.

His maxim was: “If you treat drivers like idiots, they act as idiots. Never treat anyone in the public realm as an idiot, always assume they have intelligence.”

Source: TimesOnline

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