Category Archives: City

Urban Ideas Competition 2014 – Toronto


This is an open, international ideas competition whose purpose is to gather ideas to stimulate discussion and to get the community-at-large to start thinking about the future of Toronto and its relationship to its waterfront. There is no commitment to build the ideas.

Furthermore, entry is open to any potential participant, and not limited to design professionals; submissions by multi-disciplinary groups or teams are encouraged as well.

Total prize value is $5,000 for winning submissions (there will be a first, second, and third prize). Prominent judges will be involved; moreover, ideas will create significant exposure here in Toronto with all entries being displayed in high visibility locations throughout the downtown core.

Further details and submissions:

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First AIA Sustainability meeting for 2014‏

A friendly reminder of tomorrow evenings first meeting of 2014 and a little more inspiration for the budding filmmaker within…
The first AIA sustainability meeting is in one week – Wednesday 12th Feb at 5:30pm
This time it’s different:
You will recall we have an exciting new direction for 2014.  Accordingly we need you to be ready for something different at our first meeting.

As you know we will be making short video clips on the topic of sustainability and the built environment through the year. We aim to make three. Their success will be how widely they will be forwarded and we aim for a viral vid.  We aim to elegantly capture an idea and communicate it. For a great overview, have a look at:
The first sustainability meeting for 2014 is Feb the 12th and at this meeting will be starting our ‘pitches’ – this is where we each get a maximum of two minutes to pitch an idea to the rest of the group about what video we make this year. 
How do I pitch?:
There are lots of ways to do this and, in short, there are no rules.
–     you could read a script as though you were a narrator
          you could describe what we would see
          you could write a paragraph of text
          you can present still images/PowerPoint to help structure it
          you could describe the issue with a loose idea & see if the group wants to pursue it
          you can throw minties and promise us all fame and wealth
How will we choose?
We are nothing if not democratic, and accordingly we will vote.  Your pitch(es?) idea(s) need to be on the topic of sustainability, to be memorable, to encourage people to forward it and to be do-able.  Too easy!
there are heaps of examples… many bad, some good.  see the list below
What now?

We need everyone to come with a minimum of ONE IDEA, so start thinking + writing down your thoughts.  We will have a laptop available for any e-presentation pitches (bring yr USB).  Bring your best ideas,ready to pitch on Wednesday Feb the 12that 5:30pmatTusculum.

When: Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM
Where: Tusculum, 3 Manning Street. Potts Point

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Invitation to Workshop: Progress on Green Buildings – China-Australia


The CRC for Low Carbon Living is hosting representatives from the Beijing Municipal Commission. We see this is a great opportunity to host a workshop focusing on Green buildings and carbon initiatives in Australia and China (with particular focus on Beijing City)

Where: LG03, Tyree Energy Technologies Building, University of New South Wales

When: Wednesday 11th December, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Presentations include:

‘Research underpinning a globally competitive green buildings sector’

– Prof Deo Prasad – CEO, CRC for Low Carbon Living

Action on Green Building’

– Dr Lurong Li – Deputy Division Director, Building Energy Saving and Building Materials Management Division, Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development

‘Greening buildings – City of Sydney’ (TBC)

– Chris Derksema – Director of Sustainability, City of Sydney

‘AECOM Sustainable Design Capability’

– Lester Partridge – Technical Director and Global Leader of Advanced Design and Applied Research, AECOM

‘Delivering a six star building at Shelley Street’

– Warwick Johnson –Director NSW and QLD,  Brookfield Multiplex –

‘Changing Perspective’

– Brett Pollard – Head of Knowledge and Sustainability, HASSELL

The presentations will be followed by a tour of the Tyree Energy Technologies Building, a 6-star energy rated building.

Please RSVP to Maria Schwensen ( by Monday 9th December.

Click here for a map of the UNSW Campus. Tyree Energy and Technologies Building is H6 on map.


Paid parking is available in  UNSW Western Services car park and Barker St Parking Station (Buildings G2 and N18 on Map) or there is an abundance of on-street parking nearby.


There is regular and various public transport options to the campus (see

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One Planet Seminar – BioRegional

Simon Wild (CEO, Cundall) and Caroline Noller (Founder, Footprint Company) will be joined by Pooran Desai (Co-Founder, BioRegional and International Director, One Planet Communities) to discuss a One Planet Vision – how ecological footprinting and the One Planet Living model have been used in projects and businesses both locally and abroad to achieve this vision.

At this event we welcome three speakers talking about three aspects of One Planet Living.

One Planet Living and Communities, Pooran Desai Co-founder of Bioregional and One Planet Living, Pooran Desai, will talk about the One Planet Communities concept. This concept looks to create a network of earth’s greenest neighbourhoods, where it is easy, attractive and affordable for people to live a healthy, happy lifestyle within a fair share of our planet’s resources. Pooran will use case studies to demonstrate how this can work.

One Planet Projects, Dr. Caroline Noller Director of the Footprint Company, Dr. Caroline Noller will present on Ecological footprint. Caroline’s background in construction economics and management means she is a passionate advocate of efficiency and evidenced based sustainable design practice.

One Planet Company, Simon Wild Cundall become the first consultancy in the world to become a One Planet Living Company. Cundall’s CEO, Simon Wild talk about the successes, failures, lessons learnt, obstacles so far, and the challenges ahead to run a business within the resources of a single planet.

Cost: Free
Cundall’s Sydney office: Level 1, 48 Alfred Street, Milsons Point
Monday, 27 May | 5:00 pm.
More info – Registers:

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Cities’ Pivotal Role in the Climate Change Debate – CDP Cities 2011 Progress Report

Climate change is widely recognised as one of the most serious challenges the world faces, with consequences that go far beyond its impact on the environment alone. It is no longer the question ‘if’ we have to move into a low-carbon energy future but ‘how’ we will get there.

Consuming more than 75 percent of the world’s energy, and producing around 80 percent of its greenhouse gases, the role of cities is an important nexus in the climate change debate. Their populations and infrastructure are immensely vulnerable to the damaging effects of increasing temperatures, sea level rise and extreme weather events. Additionally, cities are well positioned to anticipate climate change due to their enhanced understanding of local conditions and needs.

Supporting collaboration between cities

Driven by a common belief that city governments play an important role in reducing global carbon emissions, a group of large cities (known as the C40 Cities) have come together to create an effective forum to support collaboration and information sharing between cities and demonstrate leadership. This year, the C40 Cities collaborated with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) on a research to measure the climate impact of each participating city as well as their plans for action. An impressive 72 percent of the C40 Cities responded to the survey, representing over 1,200 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent, a figure roughly equivalent to the total emissions of a country like Japan or Germany. The survey shows that a number of cities have pioneered extraordinary approaches to GHG reduction and climate resilience.

Taking a leadership role

Nearly every responding city reports the involvement of their senior leadership in taking responsibility for climate change; many also make special note of their efforts to engage local citizens, businesses and other stakeholders in climate change-related decisions. For most, the need is urgent. More than 90 percent of disclosing cities identified themselves as ‘at risk’ due to climate change and over forty percent reported that they are already dealing with the effects of climate change in their regions.

The survey also showed that – while cities have made a strong start – there are still a number of areas where more support is needed. Indeed, challenges remain for many city governments looking to build on the low carbon movement. National governments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector can all work to help cities by:

  • Improving and standardizing GHG measurement methodologies.Cities are using many different methodologies to guide them in their GHG measurement activities. City governments will benefit from coordinated efforts to standardize these protocols to make measurement of emissions easier, more transparent, and more comparable between cities.
  • Enabling financial forecasting related to climate change investment.City governments, like many other entities, are struggling to put clear numbers on the investments needed to achieve their GHG reduction targets. Technical assistance and private sector input might help cities to improve their ROI on climate change projects.
  • Creating better tools for city-level risk assessment.City governments are leading the way in analyzing the risks from climate change in their regions. The international community can support these efforts by offering better tools, including specific risk assessment methodologies for urban areas.
  • Adding value through city emissions data validation. In the private sector, data validation and verification is becoming fundamental for establishing credibility with key stakeholders. An increasing number of cities indicate that all or part of their emissions data (city government operations and/or city-wide emissions) is verified to some degree.

Despite a complex array of challenges, it is encouraging to see that both C40 cities and non-C40 cities are (voluntarily) taking great strides towards shaping the global approach to climate change. Cities that measure and analyze their emissions will be in a better position to manage them and adapt to new circumstances. Each city can be a frontrunner in the combat against climate change in its own right.

Although it is encouraging to see that many cities have articulated a strategic vision around energy and climate and have developed GHG reduction emissions targets and innovative measures, it is only through a collective effort that climate change can be seriously contested. Source: INSIGHT Magazine by KPMG Global. INSIGHT is a semi-annual magazine that provides a broad scope of local, regional and global perspectives on many of the key issues facing today’s global infrastructure industry. Register through this link:

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AuSES Celebrates 50th Year

The Australian Solar Energy Society (AuSES) is marking its 50th year of delivering successful annual conferences by teaming up with  international partner, the Australian PV Solar Energy Exhibition (AUPVSEE), to co-present the free to attend  East Solar Expo & Conference.

AuSES will tap its exceptional professional solar network and deliver expert content for the 2 day speaker program, while AUPVSEE will draw industry from around the region for the specialist solar Expo creating the most significant dedicated solar event ever held in the Asia-Pacific.

AuSES will also host its traditional academic focused conference Solar 2012 in December.

read more:

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Researching Low Carbon Living

Seminar – Prof Deo Prasad

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Sustainable Design and Development Research Cluster seminar

On Wednesday 8th February, The Sustainable Design and Development Research Cluster hosted its first seminar in 2012. A delegation team of academics  from Tongji University  and the Shanghai World Expo Promotion Centre were visiting New Zealand and Australia.

Professor Li Guangming, Vice Director of Office of Science and Technology and Professor of College of Environmental Science and Engineering, and Vice Director of Shanghai World Expo 2010 Science and Technology Promotion Center shared about the sustainability challenges around the planning and design of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, and the subsequent lessons and longer term outcomes for the site. The presentation was followed by an informal discussion. The FBE Dean,

Professor Alec Tzannes joined the event later.

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International Conference on Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design 2012

Globalization with all its positive effects however, has left the bottom billion behind.  The United Nation Millennium Goal of eradicating poverty by halve; fights hunger and disease; and provision of  basic amenities to the poor by 2015 requires aggressive and collaborative efforts from the world community for it to be successfully achieved. The conference showcases trends and practices in the development of sustainable architecture and urban design and set a platform for the fraternity to take up the moral challenges in addressing the bottom billion.  Themed “Sustainable Architecture and Urban Design Intervention: Reaching Out to the Bottom Billion”, it invites practitioners and academicians alike to share insights into the complexities faced when working to improve the quality of process and physical place for the use of the urban and rural poor.  The conference intends to highlight new ideas and fresh approaches to enhance the living standards of the bottom billion and find ways to articulate effective strategies to narrow the gap between the have and the have not.

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Plants on Green Roofs Help Solar Panels Keep Cool

Despite being an abundant untapped resource for distributed renewable energy production, rooftops sometimes aren’t the best place to install photovoltaic (PV) panels. Heat has a negative impact on voltage, which affects power production on extremely hot days. But, by integrating a rooftop PV system with a green building technique designed to keep roofs cool and manage stormwater, Maryland-based Green Roof Technology may have found a solution to this problem.

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    Picture: Jörg Breuning, Green Roof Technology

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