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Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Public Rainwater Systems: Childrens’ Playground

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 10th, 2011

Photo © Aspect Studios

The new development by Aspect Studios at Darling Quarter in Sydney recently featured on the InDesignLive website.  At the heart of the site is a children’s playground with heaps of things for kids to play on, climb up or mess around with.  At ground level there are stepping stones of various heights, looking much like tidal pools along a beach, and there’s an enormous rope climbing frame.  Site-harvested rainwater irrigates the playground and the surrounding public parkland, and is also used in the industrial-looking water features from Germany.  Low-energy lighting is used for night lighting.

The harvesting systems and related quality controls for the use of rainwater on this public site must be quite highly resolved – does anyone know of other examples (especially in Australia) where rainwater is used for play as well as for irrigation?  KA

Read the article on the InDesignLive site.


Learning from a Community Composting Setback

Posted in Movements, Opinion, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 20th, 2011

From “Community composting – here one day, gone the next” by Russ Grayson:


“…A new technology or new approach to doing something had a greater chance of long-term success when it comes as a package containing the technology + a clear plan for its maintenance + the training of those who will take over and use it.”


What had started as an innovative idea of local people came to an end when, one warm Wednesday afternoon in late March 2011, the City of Sydney removed the community composting installation in Peace Park, Chippendale. The removal reminded me of something I had learned some time ago at a place not very far away.

Technology transfer: a three-legged construction

In those days I worked for an international development NGO operating in the South Pacific and what I learned still makes a lot of sense to me. We worked in village food security and small scale, sustainable farming systems using the LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture) approach, however the NGO—then based only hundreds of metres away in the University of Technology, Sydney, though 14 years in the past—also did village micro-hydro electrification.

It would have been easy for the NGO to have come in to some Solomon Island village and install a micro-hydro system, turn on the lights and leave. That approach was not unknown when it came to development assistance work by government programs and even by small, community based NGOs. Instead, those in the NGO were savvy enough to know that technology transfer, to be done properly, comes as a three legged structure. That technology transfer structure is this: a new technology or new approach to doing something had a greater chance of long-term success when it comes as a package containing the technology + a clear plan for its maintenance + the training of those who will take over and use it. It’s a simple enough proposition but it’s all too often ignored. The lesson has stayed with me and it came to mind when I started working with the City of Sydney where I collaborate with the City’s waste projects co-ordinator on community composting trials.


Gone, but a reboot is coming

Community composting is a new idea both to communities and to local government. Neither have tried it before. Solutions are being developed and trialled as we go. There are no instruction manuals. The City and local people installed a community composting system consisting of seven Aerobin composters (one for each day of the week) in Peace Park in inner urban Chippendale that is within easy walking distance of Sydney’s busy Railway Square.

That day in late March, the City in agreement with the local people who had been maintaining the system removed the seven Aerobins of the community composting facility. The reason? Cockroaches. Multitudes of cockroaches. The community compost had gone from a good idea in local resource recovery to a public health issue. There had been the comment from locals about odour and flies, though these may have been not the common house fly but vinegar flies and other flying insects that appear during composting as part of the decomposition process.

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Peter Harper: ‘Zero Carbon Britain 2030? in Sydney

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 30th, 2011

Zero Carbon by 2030 – Britain’s dream or reality?

Technology says we can. Science says we must. Is it time to say we will?

SPEAKER: Peter Harper, Centre for Alternative Technology (UK), Coordinator Zero Carbon Britain

Two public lectures by UK scientist Peter Harper, from the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT), in Wales on ZeroCarbonBritain 2030 – a plan offering a positive realistic, policy framework to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels within 20 years. Zero Carbon Britain(ZCB) brought together leading UK’s thinkers, including policy makers, scientists, academics, industry and NGOs to provide political, economic and technological solutions to the urgent challenges raised by climate science.

Governments and businesses seem paralysed and unable to plan for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy. ZCB shows what can be done by harnessing the voluntary contribution from experts working outside their institutions. The ZCB report,released in June 2010, provides a fully integrated vision of how Britain can respond to the challenges of climate change, resource depletion and global inequity, with the potential for a low-carbon future to enrich society as a whole.

During lectures in Melbourne and Sydney, Peter will explore how we can ‘Power Down’ demand in the built environment, transport, land use and institute behavioural change, then ‘Power Up’ the energy system with renewables. He’ll outline the key thinking behind the report, including why a low carbon economy is an investment in the future, and look at the ways sustainable community based and multi-lateral initiatives will concurrently inform a global energy infrastructure.

Sydney, Tuesday 19 April, 6.30-8pm, Vestibule, Sydney Town Hall

Please register your attendance by Friday 15 April to

Presented by the British Council, VEIL (Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab), Banksia Environmental Foundation, Key Message and the City of Sydney.


Peter Harper: ‘Zero Carbon Britain 2030′ in Melbourne & Sydney

Posted in Events, Research by Kate Archdeacon on March 18th, 2011

Peter Harper is the Research Director of the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales UK and one of the three coordinators of the Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB) 2030 project.

ZCB 2030 is a positive, realistic vision for an energy progressive society free from fossil fuels. At a time when governments appear to be paralysed and unable to act, ZCB 2030 has demonstrated that alternative plans for the future can be developed through the cooperation and good will of volunteer researchers and experts. ZCB 2030 completed its three years of work in mid 2010, presenting the plan to the UK parliament. It provides political, economic and technological solutions to the urgent challenges raised by climate science.

“The great transition to a zero-carbon Britain is not only the most pressing challenge of our time, it is also entirely possible. The solutions needed to create a low-carbon and high-wellbeing future for all exist, what has been missing to date, is the political will to implement them.” Dr Victoria Johnson, New Economics Foundation

Peter will deliver lectures about the project in Melbourne on April 13 and in Sydney on April 19. These lectures will be surrounded by other smaller events to examine the ZCB plan and to compare its approach and conclusions to that for Australia being developed by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) in the Zero Carbon Australia project.

In Melbourne: BMW Edge 13th April
In Sydney: Sydney Town Hall 19th April

More details will be announced here as they become available.

Cargo Bicycle Library: Sharing Sustainable Transport

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on February 22nd, 2011

Image: illustir via flickr CC

The Watershed Bike Library contains a fleet of specialist cargo bikes and trailers to allow cyclists to carry things that might otherwise require a car – from shopping, to kids, household items and more.  (Bike Sydney has a great article on the statistics for the Bike Library’s first 150 days of operation.)

Check out the fleet:

Gazelle Cabby cargo bike

  • A large capacity bike perfect for hauling kids and shopping
  • The Cabby tub seats two children with seatbelts and has maximum load of 75kg

Xtracycle Radish cargo bike

  • A highly versatile cargo bike
  • The Xtracycle has a long wheel base, a large wooden platform behind the seat, and super size panniers
  • Not suitable for transporting children

General purpose utility trailer

  • Connects to most standard bicycles
  • Perfect for carrying shopping and heavier loads
  • Not suitable for transporting children

Pacific kiddie trailer

  • A child bike trailer equipped with seats and seatbelts to carry one or two children
  • Mesh front screen and fold up rain cover
  • Maximum load of 36kg

Bikes are borrowed from and returned to:
The Watershed
218 King St, Newtown NSW 2042

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 4pm and Thursdays from 10am – 7pm
Telephone: 9519 6366

The Watershed is a sustainability resource centre in the heart of Newtown.  A joint initiative of City of Sydney and Marrickville Councils, it is part of an ongoing commitment to supporting sustainable environments within the urban community.  The Watershed is free and open to the public and offers a variety of services such as a library, free workshops, practical ideas for everyday sustainable living, educational and business programs.  We hope that a visit to The Watershed will inspire you to take action for a sustainable future.

Exchange for Change: Ethical Sustainable Fashion

Posted in Events, Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 25th, 2010

Oxfam Australia and CarriageWorks presents Exchange for Change: The festival for a fashionable world without poverty

The latest kicks, those perfect fitting jeans, that jaw-dropping dress. We all have fashion cravings. But often our fashion sense has a flow-on effect that we don’t get to see. What are our clothes made of? Who makes them? Under what conditions? Could we be making better choices – more eco-friendly, people-friendly choices?  Oxfam Australia and CarriageWorks are delighted to join forces to present a series of events that examine the workings of the fashion industry. Exchange for Change celebrates the positive steps many have made to address the environmental impacts of clothing production, as well as fair wages and safe working conditions for the people who make our clothes.  Above all, the three day event will focus on what we can do in our everyday lives to make a difference.

Stitched together with a lineup of live local music, and wintry treats from the CarriageWorks café and bar, this is an event for anyone ready to evolve their fashion sense.   The 3-day event features discussions, a designer showcase, and one of Sydney’s biggest clothing swaps – all for free!

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The Real Value of Cycling: Evidence-based report

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 1st, 2010

Source: vicstig Sustainable Transport Interest Group

From “Benefits of bike network far outweigh cost, says study” by Matthew Moore:

AN INNER-CITY network of bike paths would deliver economic benefits more than triple the cost of building it, according to the first full economic appraisal of cycleways in Australia.  The report, commissioned by the City of Sydney and to be released today {14-05-10}, says the 293-kilometre network proposed by 15 councils would deliver $506 million in economic benefits to the community over 30 years, $3.88 for every dollar spent.

The report, produced by the economic research firm AECOM, seeks to quantify the cost and likely benefits of building 160 kilometres of cycleways separated from general traffic and a further 70 kilometres of shared paths running from Kogarah to Chatswood and from Watsons Bay to Rhodes.  Even if building costs were higher that expected, the benefits of the network would far outweigh the costs, with quicker trips delivering savings of $211 million, or 30.9 per cent of the total, health benefits after deductions for injuries estimated at $147 million and decongestion benefits at $98 million, the report says.

It says one of the biggest economic benefits would come from improved ”journey ambience”, or cycling free from the fear of being hit by cars, a pleasure it says is worth $139 million, or nearly 20 per cent of all savings.  AECOM’s principal economist, Katie Feeney, who is one of the report’s authors, said the ”journey ambience” benefit was an attempt to put a value on an economic benefit that was hard to quantify and was calculated by working out what people would be prepared to pay for the improved experience.  ”It’s best practice internationally to assign a value to the improved travelling experience of separated cycleways,” Ms Feeney said.

Read the full article by Matthew Moore.

Read the AECOM report on scribd.

Green Star Social Housing: Lilyfield, Sydney

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on February 10th, 2010

Source: Green Building Council Australia (GBCA)

The Lilyfield Housing Redevelopment in Sydney is the first social housing scheme in Australia to be awarded a Green Star certification, and is also the first project of its kind to achieve a Green Star residential rating on the East Coast of Australia.

Representing ‘Australian Excellence’ in environmentally sustainable design, this project by HBO+EMTB for Housing NSW sets a new standard for public housing developments in Australia, and demonstrates that highly sustainable public housing outcomes are both realistic and achievable in terms of building function and use, project demographics and importantly, housing affordability.

ESD initiatives featured in the project:

Indoor Environment Quality
* All 88 apartments are naturally ventilated and there is no air conditioning in the development


* Roof elements over stair wells have been designed to support and orientate solar hot water and photovoltaic (PV) panels, which provide on-site energy
* All roofs to north facing units are tilted in order to maximise solar access to those units during winter (low sun angle) and to avoid direct excess solar radiation to those units in summer (high solar angle)
* The lighting design has utilised energy efficient bulbs throughout
* A common area interior lighting occupant movement and daylight sensor
* Solid floors exposed to the northern sun for thermal mass
* Low-E glass in all east and west façades


* Water efficient fixtures throughout apartments and common area


* Exceeding the benchmarks of TRA-1 by providing significantly less car parking than the minimum – there is no on-site car parking in the development

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