Sunday, June 13, 2010

Innovating the Cities: Design, Planning and Architectural Solutions in the Urban Environment

Saturday's Deakin lecture on climate change focused on cities, recognising that cities must change as they generate around 70% of all greenhouse gases and use about 75% of the world's energy.

All speakers agreed that there was an urgent need to densify the city to reduce environmental impact. The debate was more about how this was to be achieved.

It set me to thinking about Port Melbourne and the change it has been undergoing for the past twenty years. Imperfect though that change process may have been, Port Melbourne has many of the attributes cited by the speakers as important for sustainability - or as David Owen puts it 'Living Smaller, Living Closer and Driving Less'

  • a range of housing sizes and types - family homes to one bedroom apartments

  • housing for a range of income levels - public and social housing, private owner occupiers and renters (though a shortage now of affordable housing)

  • mixed use - a range of services and facilities available within walking distance

  • access to most community services - childcare (though not enough), schools (though needing more)

  • public transport - well served by the 109 and the bus along Bay St giving access to the metropolitan public transport network

  • open space - a great open space network that is improving in quality year by year

  • alternative ways to get around - bike paths, and an improving footpath network

And the ultimate test - people report that they love living here.

Do you share the assessment above?

To watch the lecture and panel discussion go to

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