Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bike Futures: Lessons from Copenhagen

  • mainstream cycling - everyday cycling for everybody
  • physically separated paths are the best way to get more people cycling and to overcome the sense of unsafety many people feel about sharing the road with fast moving cars
  • work on both hard and soft (culture,behaviour) infrastructure
  • build the network - resolve weak links
  • use data, counts of people - not cars - to analyse how road space is being used
  • use pilots/trials eg 'Saturday Streets' - give people the experience (showed New Yor example where they had just used planter boxes and tables and chairs)
  • use visualisations rather than plans so people can see the imagined future
  • build on the values of your city
  • reduce car speed, bike speeds can go up
  • favour on road treatments, to off road - as part of enlivening cities
  • make small interventions where you can. Be responsive and fix easily fixable problems

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seaford Life Saving Club

The building cost $1.7m which and was commissioned by the Frankston City Council through a design competition.

The architects wre Robert Simeoni Pty Ltd.

The beautiful view is framed by the entrance.

The toilets are to the left of this picture.

To see beautiful pictures of the building go to

Seaford Life Saving Club

The cafe from the beach. The cafe is leased by the Frankston Council.
There are ramps and paths to the beach.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What does VAMPIRE mean?

Jago Dodson used the VAMPIRE* and VIPER maps to show household vulnerability to mortgage stress and peak oil.

His presentations demonstrated vulnerability at the urban fringes of most Australian cities with a conjunction of mortgage stress, high proportion of household budget on transportation costs, absence of public transport, multiple car ownership of large, fuel inefficient cars.

Shocking the suburbs: oil vulnerability in Australian cities Dodson, J and Sipe, N

Ventura California has much to teach about retrofitting residential neighbourhoods

take away thoughts
Rick Cole spoke about the work Ventura City Council continues to do in retro fitting existing residential neighbourhoods using form based code which guides how buildings behave in the public realm. Form based code is based on timeless principles derived from cities over time.
Ventura's city planning is about 'how we will grow, not will we grow' This approach has come to be known as smart growth and follows the imperatives of infill first! and balanced transportation

They keep on 'reclaiming the awfulness'. People in those neighbourhoods like them and see no reason to change. He showed, with a series of slides, the same streetscape over an 80 year period and how it had evolved. Much had changed. Most obvious was the increasing presence of the motor car in these neighbourhoods. As he said, cars are not parked in garages any more - they are full of the stuff we buy at Walmart. The change led him to ask: 'what is the American dream?'. It is not static and will continue to evolve.
He is passionate for mixed use, rather than zoning which separates functions. He wants to talk about planning in language that people can understand, rather than the arcane and impenetrable language of planning.

On the subject of engagement and creating the vision for Ventura, he has found that people prefer relatively brief processes that have a beginning, a middle and an end. He encouraged speaking to regular people, rather than stakeholder groups with entrenched interests where you the best you are likely to achieve is a 'bastardised compromise.' Stakeholders have 'a dog in the fight'. 'In a driving rainstorm in the middle of the night, they'll be there.' 'Entrenched interests don't represent the future.' Instead, you should speak with 'sensible people who are not fanatics.'

He showed many examples of highly walkable neighbourhoods with a mix of densities, attractive shared open space and neighbourhood scale retail.

Rick Cole
City Manager, Ventura

Living Better: Consuming Less

Chris Ryan [CR] spoke about the future inspired work that has been overseen by VEIL for an inner city redevelopment site.

It will be informed by 'slow' (as in slow food), it will be productive and it will have a re-shaped urban form.

Above all Chris spoke of the importance of imagining a positive and inspired vision of the future and opening up to the rich ideas of emerging designers.

  • 'creating a movement for expanding optimism'
  • 'motivating change'
  • 'we cannot afford to create one building that is not sustainable (that would need to be retro fitted later). Docklands already needs retro fitting

Victorian Environment Innovation Lab

Chris Ryan

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why councils' should look after footpaths and the public realm

Enrique Penalosa is a former mayor of Bogota in Columbia

The few points captured here make compelling arguments for local government attention to the public realm

  • Its not about a transport system, its not about engineering, its about people and politics.
  • Its about what kind of city do we want? How do we want to live?
  • What makes a good city? A city that is good for the vulnerable old, young and disadvantaged. Convergence of environmental and social sustainability.
  • Transport is a means to an end whereas pedestrianisation can be an end in itself.
  • In the public realm, we meet as equals it is democractic. The public realm is about social justice
  • People will never remember a road, but they will never forget a good pedestrian space.
  • Transport is one problem that gets worse with affluence
  • Traffic congestion is not bad because it means you are ripe for public transport.
  • Density shopping living work
  • Make pedestrian spaces the top issue: perhaps do density neighbourhood by neighbourhood.
  • (Any fuel is going to get more expensive.)

for more go to

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liveable and Just

'Liveable and Just' is a project funded by the Local Sustainability Accord. The partners are the VLGA, the McCaughey Centre, DSE and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

These notes were taken at a workshop held at the VLGA on 30 June. This was the final workshop of a series conducted around the state

Panellists: John Wiseman and Taegan Edwards , McCaughey Centre, Liana Thompson, VLGA, Bronwen Davies, DSE

attendees: a range of community development, social and health planners, environmental staff, and councillors

'Liveable and Just' aims to
  • consider the social impacts of climate change

  • consider what this will mean for councils

  • think about and develop some tools to assist local governments address the social impacts of climate change


  • 'Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century' [Lancet, May 16, 2009]


The areas of social impact that workshop participants identified/anticipated

  • transport

  • food scarcity

  • depression/mental health

  • stressed service systems

  • ageing community

  • heatwave

  • pressure on recreational facilities

  • distrust of Council - council messages don't have credibility with community

  • 'ghost' suburbs

  • isolated settlements of retired people with no access to services/transport

  • managing change, expectations

  • inspiring positive change rather than despair

  • evacuation - consider buddy councils

  • social disharmony


  • don't necessarily see low incomes as a 'deficit'. Celebrate those who live with less

  • skills in local government sector - (refer to the response to fires) Q: would the same level of responsiveness be in evidence if crises arise each year?

  • skilled volunteering Q: can it be sustained year on year?

  • council leadership

  • work with neighbourhood centres

  • support sustainability ambassadors/leaders in the community

  • council enabling, rather than frustrating action S: a suite of trees residents could choose from rather than waiting years for trees to be planted

  • support local travel/local services

  • communication: within and across councils, with communities, levels of government,

  • never been a more important topic to work across/coordinate across council departments

  • skill up communities

  • manage relationships, which partnerships need strengthening?

What resources are needed?:

  • more localised information to postcode level - green maps

  • scorecards in decision making that favour climate friendly initiatives

  • cards to generate discussion

  • make it easy to access relevant information

  • best practice community engagement - examples and stories

  • a pool of engaging facilitators

  • a clearing house for information

  • partnerships with universities

  • networks, mentoring and relationships - also between producer/consumer, urban/rural

  • partnerships and regional collaboration

S: suggestion Q: question

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Michael Kiely: soil farming

Port Phillip Business Breakfast

Some notes:

  • climate change means 'chaotic events everywhere'

  • 'soil farming'

  • 'if you can't imagine success, you can't be successful'

  • 'your customer is an appreciating asset'

  • 'not all customers are equal'

  • you will have a fan club - work with them

  • you may only need to deal with a small number of people

  • 'the loyalty ladder'

  • 'helping customers build community'

  • 'the distance from awareness to despair is short'

  • start from where you are

  • 'business clusters'

  • 'sponsor a suburb to catch the CO2 challenge and sell the story of hope'

  • Carbon Farmers

  • its 'an individual challenge', it about 'how do I live my life'

  • 'I feel optimistic and I feel better and its better for my health'

  • 100% ground cover 100% of the time

  • its all cycles, carbon cycle, water cycle

  • so that your soil is like a sponge

  • your idea has to get wings

  • yes, you will have war stories but nothing good was ever easy

  • 'I sit with the strongest negative person because then I've got them all'

23 June 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Women in Planning

Panellists:Jane Homewood [JH], Liz Johnstone [LJ] Rae Kingsbury [RK]

  • [LJ] Respect needs to underpin the relationship between councillors and planning staff

  • [JH] Work collaboratively with your planners to create the change you want to see

  • [JH] How are you going to meeet the future needs of your community?

  • [JH] in your local policy get rid of 'and', and 'and'. Have stand alone sentences that have meaning and are not rendered ambiguous by being paired.

  • where do you want to make a difference?

  • make your values known to the planners so that they have a sensitivity to them

  • [JH] sustainability and adaptation happen at local government level

  • [jh] councillors role is to meet the future needs of your community

  • [JH] public funds are not going to fund renewal to the extent that is required. Therefore it is necessary to consider the terms on which private investment will be secured to achieve public good
  • strategic planning is the core business of council

  • [JH] analyse every aspect of your dealings with VCAT: how many applications are appealed, how much do you spend, what can you learn from the decisions

  • [LJ] planning permit activity reporting data can be exported to Google Earth

  • [RK] the role of planners is to give their very best advice. The role of councillors is to make the decision

  • [JH] we must bring planning and communtiy development together (if we are to meet the future needs of our communities in a sustainable way)

  • [JH] have a good urban designer on staff - (planners don't think 3 dimensionally and can achieve planning outcomes by 'chopping and carving')

  • [JH] engage with the process, facilitate good development, celebrate good examples, use templates if helpful

18 June 2009

The Volunteer

Where Kyme Place is, that is where there was a scrap metal merchant. That is where Ted and Jess Merrington built boats. They had a boat shed at Graham.
My grandfather George bought her for 25 pounds in 1920. It got damaged in a storm. Sold in 1955
In 1985, Doug visited a boat yard in Maribyrnong and saw this 'double ender'
It was the Volunteer. [Doug Beazley]

Local policy: some advice

Des Eccles

Planning training: some notes

about local policy:

  • should not be regulatory; to apply as regulation is improper

  • should be consistent

  • to which clear meaning can be given; meaningful to help make decisions

  • VCAT is required to consider; consider does not mean 'give effect to'

  • the words of your local policy will be subjected to 'forensic examination'

'if its not in the scheme, its not worth the paper its written on'

Making decisions in planning:

  • must be dispassionate

  • 2 reasonable people could come to different conclusions

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yarra Yarra: the Birrerung

from Clearings
Paul Fox

A chapter about Bunce, who laid out Geelong's Botanic Gardens after many years spent travelling in Australia gathering botanic specimens. His work at Geelong was prolific.
He spent some years in Melbourne around the time of white settlement around 1839
Of his first trip up the Yarra Yarra he recalled

'"its banks thick with vegetation including a tree (most probably a kind of melaleuca) with 'long heavy branches that hung in massive graceful branches over the river's side'"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Victorian Coastal Forum

23 April 2009
for the presentations referred to below see Victorian Coastal Forum

Three themes of the Victorian Coastal Strategy

  • climate change
  • population growth
  • the marine environment

John Church CSIRO

  • sea level rise will be variable (will not rise like water in a bath tub)
  • sea level rise will come from both mass and volume change (thermal expansion)
  • we might go from 1 in 5 year events every 1 to 2 years, and historically derived 1 in a hundred year events several times a year
  • combined storm surge and tide wil have more impact than sea level rise

for more information go to

see also presentation from Clive Attwater from SGS:

Lyndon Webb from Wellington Shire

  • ask developers to prepare a climate change sea level response plan (include S173 to acknowledge risk on vulnerable properties)

Peter Christoff

  • burden sharing

Risk assessment is primary

'deceptive certainty of lines on maps' to define acceptable levels of risk


'This is my country and I don't know where I am'
Referring to the changes that have taken place at Docklands
Welcome to country at Docklands

Friday, June 5, 2009

The role of buses in the future of Melbourne

Chris Loader
Bus Association of Victoria

  • mode shift is happening
  • buses are growing by 14%
  • car traffic is stagnating
  • 80% of Melburnians only have access to buses
  • most vulnerable Melburnians have the least service
  • SMARTBUS is being successful in increasing patronage with 15 minute frequencies. Patronage has doubled
  • has significant congestion benefits
  • growth in full fare patrons
  • one bus costs about $400,000 to get into service

To read one of Chris's presentations go to Bus Association of Victoria at


6 May 2009

Green Transport Breakfast: Harry Barber

Harry Barber
Bicycle Victoria
  • unpick the barriers one by one and strengthen the positives

Green Transport: Michael Hopkins

Michael Hopkins
Department of Transport

Three approaches:
  • macro-urban form - creating a polycentric city
  • increasing the capacity of public transport
  • increasing efficiency - eg carpooling


  • 'we've got to do everything'

5 May 2009

Green Transport: Rob Adams

Rob Adams
City of Melbourne

  • we're building in financial stress (on the fringe)
  • we can transform our cities - as we have done in Melbourne
  • transport is about moving more people, rather than more vehicles, past a point


  • I'm 'an absolute optimist'
  • 'we should resist it (change to greater densities), it will be more liveable'
  • shovel ready projects to respond to the stimulus package 'I don't know of projects like these' 'I'm afraid we're going to waste it'

5 May 2009

Green Transport Breakfast

Rob Freemantle

  • each person makes about 4 trips per day
  • that is 14m trips per day across metro Melbourne
  • add population growth - each person making 4 trips per day
  • have to make best use of the existing network
  • creating employment close to where people lives reduces the need for travel
  • we will still need roads, but need to put them to the best use
  • that is why we need network operating plans
  • some roads will be managed with the whole network and economy at the forefront, others will be local roads responding to local needs
  • Freight Futures optimises some routes - Principal Freight Network
  • Higher Productivity Vehicles which carry 2 x 40 foot containers reduce truck movements by a third
  • carpooling can make an enormous contribution especially at the peak Current car occupancy is 1.08
  • cycling has grown 20% p/a over the past 4 years
  • 40% of trips are 2 kms or less

Integrated Land Use and Urban Planning

Significant development applications must be referred to the Director of Public Transport. The guidelines are at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Dr Peter Christoff
spoke passionately, as he always does, about building community learning and capacity around climate change.
He was insistent that we would not have such weak targets in the CPRS if people understood the urgency of the challenges ahead. Governments can only do so much.
Institutions need to be flexible, adaptive.

Rob Adams

Climate Change Adapation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Rob Adams
Rob spoke about the need to densify the city. He spoke again about the desirability of increasing density along tram lines.
  • 75% of emissions come from cities - this is why we have to work with cities
  • the liveability that people talk about is becoming sustainability
  • 'design a good street and you design a good city'
  • all the most liveable cities are dense - Barcelona for example. Buildings of 7 to 8 storeys. Create 75% active frontages. Hang on to your heritage buildings
  • we have all the space we need along major transport corridors to build all the housing we need without extending the urban growth boundary.
  • 'productive suburbs' that can remain largely unchanged
  • we have got to tackle the cost of building over 3 storeys as it is inhibiting consolidation

There is a discussion about density along tram lines at

Chicago's climate change adaptation plan

Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Julia Parzen
How Chicago has institutionalised Climate Change adaptation
I highly recommend this site

Key messages

  • 'there was a lot of process'
  • built around involvement and engagement and collaboration
  • designed the plan with participation

  • Julia emphasised how much attention to process underpinned the development of their strategy 'there was a lot of process'
  • She spoke about how Chicago had institutionalised their climate change adaptation framework
  • She is not a climate change expert but experienced in organisations and process
  • Everything was based around stakeholder involvement and engagement and collaborations. This was built into their structures. They worked with industries, businesses, research institutions and community members
  • did not separate adaptation and mitigation - bringing them together in one strategy
  • wherever possible they built on existing initiatives, relationships - the assets based model [McKnight - very Chicago]
  • worked with whatever was important to people whether it was trees, gardening, concern about prices increases
  • asked extra questions of whoever was working on an existing project
  • the model can readily be updated
  • risk factors were based on assessment criteria to avoid personal preference
  • performance measures included permeability, morbidity
  • used infra red mapping to identify heat islands and focussed tree planting there
  • report emissions every 3 years

The five strategies in their plan are:

  • energy efficient buildings
  • clean and renewable energy
  • improved transport
  • reduced waste and industrial pollution
  • adaptation


Climate Change Adaptation Symposium
3 and 4 June 2009

Some points arising:
  • there is an emerging clarification of roles with the Commonwealth assuming responsibility for mitigation (through the CPRS) and the States taking more responsibility for adaptation. This raises funding questions for the states, as well as whether it achieves the urgency around mitigation. The role of local government was barely mentioned
  • adaptation is part of a continuum rather than a new and distinct discipline in its own right
  • we should be wary of being too compartmentalised around adaptation and mitigation
  • when is the optimum time to make an intervention?
  • what level of intervention is appropriate?
  • how do we share and engage with our community around the knowledge that we have shared and learned?
  • all adaptation will be local!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chris Loader
Bus Association of Victoria
  • 'behaviour change can happen now!'
  • 'road dieting'
  • increasing fuel efficiency in vehicles doesn't deal with congestion
  • increase fuel efficiency and people drive more
  • transport is not about cars, trains. Its about mobility and accessibility
  • increase car occupancy
  • 2 kms is highly walkable

Sustainable Living Festival


Post summer observations from Life Saving Victoria

Nigel Taylor
CEO Life Saving Victoria
  • all beaches have experienced a rise in visitation
  • increased use of facilities
  • increased drownings - 'there are so many ways to drown' - people seldom drown in the same circumstances. Makes it hard to have a 'one size fits all' response
  • water activity is up around the Bay
Life Saving Victoria
Peter Durkin
  • natural buffers are the most cost effective
[see 15.08 of the SPFF and practice note on location and design]
  • transport disadvantage/forced car ownership (VCOSS)
  • affordable living rather than affordable housing
  • walking - largely the domain of councils
  • liveability the measure rather than the project

Arguments for lowering speeds in local streets

John Whitelegg
Safe Speed Forum
  • quality of life is savaged by excessive speed
  • speed increases trip length. 'If you can go faster, you go further'
  • 40% of trips taken by car are less than 2 km
  • Portsmouth, UK, has adopted a 30 kph speed limit
  • lower speeds mean there is no need for expensive engineering solutions in local streets
  • its wrong to go 'bitty bitty' - a whole system of consistently lowered speed limits is required
  • 'its unethical to compromise safety for other benefits'
  • In Sweden the desired urban character has been defined as providing accessibility, security, safety and environment
  • each death costs the state $1m

Friday, April 10, 2009

The process by which people collectively deal with issues using whole of government as instrument.

Peter Johnstone

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Michael Haines
Westgate Ports
Metropolitan Transport Forum
  • advocate for inland ports at Altona and Lyndhurst
  • we have moved from manufacturing to trade
  • the population is growing
  • shopping patterns have changed especially with the use of the internet
  • objective should be lower emissions per ton for more freight vehicles
  • fuel costs are going up
He listed the impediments to rail as being
  • freight needs to be moved in batches
  • the broad and the standard guage question
  • conflict with passenger services
  • level crossings
  • fixed windows during which rail can run
  • 19th century signalling
  • limited access and delivery points
  • need a high volume to justify
He argued for developing hubs next to freeway and rail
  • freight movement from 10 pm to 5 am @ 80 kph on dedicated lanes with no braking or gear change noise
  • that freight corridors were more important than the technology viz truck or train
Liz Boulton
Metropolitan Transport Forum
  • The targets for freight on rail have been abandoned following the Eddington report
  • container growth through the PoMC is projected to rise from 2m TEU in 2008 to 8m in 2035
  • the objective should be to move more tonnage with less emissions
  • in Europe planning is being done for pre 2030 and post 2030.
  • we should aim for the 'last mile' of freight to always be via clean vehicles. Consumption behaviour, including shopping via the internet, has increased the number of small delivery vehicles on the road. The highest cost is in the last mile
Land Use Planning
Michael Buxton, Bill Russell
  • strategic planning is about managing a future and adopting actions to achieve it
  • POLICY is a position statement to achieve consistency by applying generic principles or responses to all particular instances over time
  • increase the number of lots per hectare (currently 11 lots per hectare) the Michael Buxton mantra
  • in Casey, 85% of people leave the suburb each day for work
  • move from affordable housing to affordable living


'Wither the weather' - planning in a time of climate change

notes taken from an address by
Nick Dimopoulos (National Transport Commission
Planning for environmentally sustainable transport
  • agriculture is moving north
  • 2 degrees of warming will result in 17% more cost on roads
  • oil supply is going down whereas oil demand is going up
  • Transport is responsible for 14% emissions
  • Transport is the fastest growing sector for emissions
  • The NTC supports the inclusion of transport in an ETS
  • Pubic transport currently makes up for 9% of all trips
  • the integration of all urban transportation needs to be optimised
  • Australia is the only OECD country without a National People Moving Strategy
  • More interventionist land use planning is going to be necessary in the future
  • With developments of 5 storeys, over 600,000 people could be accommodated along Melbourne's tram routes - we've got to work smarter with what we've got
  • Road pricing is preferable, though politically sensitive, to building new infrastructure
at IPAA 9/04/2009