Posted 23 May 2017 - 4:46pm
Curtin University, Perth: Today, at the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s (CRCLCL) Regenerative Cities National Forum, urban ecologist Professor Herbert Girardet praised Australia and the CRCLCL for its low carbon living laboratory projects in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide, saying they will help advance this important practice.
Professor Girardet, originator of the ‘regenerative cities’ concept, worked as inaugural ‘thinker in residence’ in Adelaide in 2003, and helped to craft the regenerative development policies that have contributed to South Australia’s progressive international profile. He said CRCLCL projects such as Tonsley Park and Lochiel Solar Village in Adelaide, White Gum Valley in Perth and Central Park in Sydney are applying these innovative concepts.
“These pioneering projects are helping Australia to move on from conventional city planning and design towards future-proof and equitable ways of urban living,” he said.
“In an age when most people across the world are urban dwellers, we face huge challenges. Our current cities suck in all kinds of resources with barely a thought about the impacts on the local and global environment. ‘Closing the loop’ on how we consume resources and manage wastes is good for both people and planet. Projects like these help to prove that regenerative cities are the future, but policies must now change quickly to scale up these initiatives.”
As well as presentations on projects, the forum focused on a discussion paper by Professor Girardet which outlines the new economic opportunities for cities, as they scale up renewable energy and battery storage, efficient water and traffic management, waste recycling and composting, and peri-urban agriculture.
“Creating regenerative cities is a next, logical step for urban planning and management. Cities can combine local benefits from efficient use of resources with global initiatives to help regenerate the world’s damaged and depleted environments,” said Professor Girardet.
“We need to encourage national policy makers, and urban officials and civil society groups to engage in a far-reaching paradigm shift in the management of our cities, for the benefit of both present and future generations.”
Keynote speaker and CRCLCL Project leader, Professor Peter Newman from the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, said projects like WGV (White Gum Valley) in Fremantle which embraces 120 residential homes, and smaller scale projects like Josh’s House, a single residence, are game changers for the future.
“These projects use climate sensitive design and citizen-based utilities, creative urban greening and water management strategies and are providing essential information for the construction of future regenerative cities in Australia. These and other projects like them, are helping to write the blue print for the future,” he said.
“From such projects we have learned that you can run a home on renewables and through proper design, ensure the building works with the local climate to reduce energy needs, whist recycling water helps with resource consumption,” he said.
“We have also learned that engaging the community encourages a shared vision in living sustainably and being part of the process. WGV has been a very popular development that sold very quickly.”
“As Australia advances the UN’s New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, now is the time for everyone across the board involved with the planning, construction and management of our cities to get on board to help future proof our cities and our civilization,” Professor Newman concluded.