With the annual Stormwater Victoria Conference held at Lorne last week, it is a good time to look at Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) or Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) as it is referred to in Europe. WSUD is becoming an integral part of the development process in Melbourne's inner and middle ring municipalities and is described as the integration of urban planning with the management, protection and conservation of the urban water cycle that ensures urban water management is sensitive to natural hydrological and ecological processes [1, Pg. 2]. It aims to reduce potable wat

Marcus Foth, Queensland University of Technology and Mirko Guaralda, Queensland University of Technology Peter Jackson employed an intricate approach to the stage design of Lord of the Rings. The people who inhabited Middle Earth for hundreds of generations slowly left cultural traces, alterations, artefacts and remnants of their human existence on the environment. For example, the cinematographic stage set for Rivendell gives the viewer the impression of use and legacy over generations. Stage designers aged artefacts and applied, erased and reapplied cultural marks and insignia to “m

Associate Professor Grant Blashki, Chris Jensen, Dr Ann-Maree Graham, Dr Kevin Fergusson, Dr Trent Penman, Professor Peter Doherty, AC and Professor Richard Eckard Extreme is the new normal when it comes to weather, with devastation caused by floods, fires and cyclones filling our news feeds all too frequently. Thanks to the relatively recent development of ‘event attribution’ in climate science, researchers can now confidently attribute the increase in extreme weather events to human-forced climate change. For Australians, climate change means more heatwaves, more droughts, more

Monday 27th March 2017 saw the gazettal of the altered residential zones in Victoria, via Amendment VC110. The amendment primarily affects the General Residential Zone (GRZ) and Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), with minor changes to the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ). Background information on the review, including the Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee and State of Play Reports, can be found at the State Planning Website. Whilst the Government contend the new zones get the balance right... provide for the protection of the character and liveability... and support

Chris Jensen If a heatwave hit Melbourne and the power blacked out, most apartment buildings would bake, with indoor temperatures exceeding international health standards, according to a new analysis that calls for Australia to adopt standards to protect occupants against heat stress. Researchers at the University of Melbourne modelled six common apartment designs in the city and all six failed standards for new buildings set in France, the UK, Germany and the US. There are no health standards to ensure against heat stress in the Building Code of Australia. Lead researcher and construc

Plan Melbourne, it's 'Refresh' and State & Local Policy in all planning schemes reference and support sustainability / sustainable development. The principle legislation embeds this position in the objectives for planning in Victoria: to provide for the fair, orderly, economic and sustainable use, and development of land. [1] These over-riding objectives for sustainable development are as important now as they were when the term was first popularised in a report, Our Common Future - more commonly referred to as the Brundtland Report, which includes the following definition: development

Nerida Conisbee:Melbourne is well-suited to urban sprawl; it’s flat, easy to build on and lacks geographic boundaries like waterways and cliffs that force other cities into higher densities. It’s possible to continue building low-density housing out as far as Geelong in the west, Seymour in the north and Warragul in the east. But is that really the best way forward for Melbourne’s population growth and housing affordability? Broadly speaking, urban sprawl works in this country because Australians prefer to live in houses with a yard. The most popular search criteria on realestate.com.

I recently joined an inspection of two certified ‘Green Star’ buildings in the heart of Melbourne CBD: EPA Victoria at 200 Victoria Street, Carlton and 567 Collins Street, Melbourne. This outing was facilitated by Rob Catchlove of Wave Consulting.  Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) is becoming of paramount importance at planning permit and design concept stage for many local Council’s, developers, architects and policy advisors. ESD seeks to achieve the most sustainable building design possible through reduced embodied energy, stormwater management, passive design and reduce

Barbara Norman, University of Canberra  Representatives of Australian coastal communities have gathered this week to discuss the major challenges they face. Delegates at the conference in Rockingham, Western Australia, represent 40 councils around Australia, some falling within the 24 federal electorates held by a margin of 5% or less. In contrast to the federal budget, climate change is at the top of their agenda. At the coming federal election, 24 coastal electorates are held by a margin of 5% or less. Compiled with NATSEM, University of Canberra and the Australian Coastal Councils

An extensive review of the residential zoning implemented across the suburbs of Melbourne has confirmed what many had expected; the inner north region is designated for far more development than the inner east suburbs. The Managing Residential Development Taskforce (the Taskforce) is an independent expert group which have prepared the Residential Zones State of Play reports. Approximately 23% of land in Metropolitan Melbourne is within a zone which limits significant change, with only 5% within a zone that supports a large increase in density. The zoning map extract below identifies cle

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