Category Archives: Sustainability

VEIL Food Map

VEIL Food Map

Urban food production map. [Source: VEIL]

Our recent post on productive streets included a quote from Kirsten Larsen of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. VEIL’s website features an urban food production map of Melbourne. The map identifies community gardens, market gardens, food produced in public spaces and shared household gardens across the city.


Productive Streets

Backyard vegetable garden, Aberfeldie

Vegetables grown in an Aberfeldie backyard are shared between neighbours. [Source: Visual City]

VicUrban’s Meridian in Dandenong will see fruit trees and vegetable plants extending beyond the backyard and into the public realm. According to an article in The Age, streets will be lined with a mix of about 20 kinds of productive trees, urban orchards established in public open space and an area set aside for community gardens.

Introducing such species into the public realm can be difficult as local council’s often have concerns regarding maintenance costs and potential litigation. “Those arguments can be addressed,” says Mr Partos from VicUrban. “Some areas of California have had productive landscapes in their streets for a long time, with community organisations set up to manage and run them.”

Commenting on the broader environmental impact of food supply in cities, Kirsten Larsen, of the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, believes planning models in urban areas must change. “We need to think about our cities as productive, as well as consumptive spaces.”

ACF Sustainable Cities Index

ACF Sustainable Cities Index - Melbourne

Summary of Melbourne’s results [Source: Australian Conservation Foundation – 2010 Sustainable Cities Index Comparative Table]

Darwin is the most sustainable city based on the Australian Conservation Foundation’s (ACF) 2010 Sustainable Cities Index. Through an independent review process the ACF established 15 indicators across three categories; environmental performance, quality of life and resilience. The resulting index provides a snapshot of comparative performance in each of Australia’s 20 largest cities.

Melbourne ranked seventh. Its best performance was in the density category with high scores also recorded in green building, health and education. Melbourne recorded low results in biodiversity, transport and public participation.

Melbourne City Fact Sheet
2010 Sustainable Cities Index Report

Planning permission for AIA’s carbon neutral office

41 Exhibition Street by Lyons

41 Exhibition Street redevelopment [Source: Lyons]

City of Melbourne has granted planning approval for 41 Exhibition Street, home of the Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Designed by Lyons, the 21 storey building will contain a ground level of ‘micro’ retail, four levels housing the AIA and 16 levels of commercial offices.

Carey Lyon said that the design concept “references the importance of Melbourne’s laneways, and helps maintain the fine grain of the city’s built environment.”

“Too often small sites in the city get land-banked and eventually aggregated, resulting in large-scale developments and a loss of the fine grain elements that can help define a city’s character. By creating a 20-storey building with a total space of only 5000 square metres on this small footprint site, we are adding variety and interest into the urban streetscape.”

Aiming for a 5 Star Green Star (Office v3) rating, the building will feature a high performance façade system and active chilled beams throughout – achieving a 40% energy saving when measured against ‘business as usual’. It will also incorporate storage of storm water for flushing of toilets, bicycle parking, and areas for tenants waste management.

According to a total carbon assessment run by the AIA, it is projected that the building will achieve a 43 per cent carbon reduction through energy efficiency, waste management, transport strategies and use of sustainable materials; 60 per cent carbon saving by the purchase of appropriate green power; and 100 per cent carbon neutrality by using carbon offsets through owners and tenancy agreements.

1200 Buildings Green Initiative

The Victorian Government and City of Melbourne have launched a major sustainability initiative to refit 1200 existing commercial buildings. The commercial building sector is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality, accounting for 48 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. If 1200 existing commercial buildings are retrofitted to improve energy performance by 38 per cent, the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation is 383,000 tonnes of CO2-e per annum. While regulations now require major new office buildings to meet minimum sustainability standards, new buildings represent only a small proportion of the commercial building stock. The 1200 Buildings website provides information on the retrofit process, funding opportunities, policies that support the initiative, case studies and current participants.