Sunday, May 7

Future Greener Cities

In the country we have the green nature corridors but already there is evidence of a new green landscape emerging in our cities towards a more sustainable model.

In many cities cars are unwelcome or banned from the centre, water is recycled many times and buildings are much more environmentally friendly. In the future its likely city rooftops and city squares will house gardens and community vegetables plots.

Buildings themselves from top to bottom are becoming green. Click here to visit a website dedicated to this objective

In Melbourne the recently completed Councils Towers incorporates:

1. A basement water tank for chilled pumped water to cool the building in summer.
2. Shower Towers to provide cool water for building reticulation and cool air.
3.Fresh air is fed at low speed though floor vents
4. Concrete slab ceilings to absorb excess heat.
5. 100 % outside air via vertical ducts.
6. Chilled ceiling panels absorb internally generated heat
7. Ceiling exhausts empty warm air
8. Shelf and balcony floors provide horizontal shading from a Northern Sun 9. Vertical planting of greenery for shade, glare, air quality and staff interaction with nature.
10.Rooftop wind turbines powered by motors from converted washing machines.

Food into the Cities
In Australia we are blessed with self sufficiency in food production and are a major world exporter of agriculture. Many crops can be grown all year round with the “ripening” season spread (as one regions harvest finishes another begins). Fresh fruit and vegetables are a feature of daily life but the main problem involves transportation from vast land areas. Each year a staggering 167 million tonnes of food transported 2.5 billion kilometres.

The means of transport primarily is currently by road transport which accounts for 13.5% of Australia green house emissions. It is expected that the total transport task will grow with economic and population trends.
Rail-based transportation uses far less in resources than road and air, yet rail manages to attract far less of the Australian task than it could.

It follows that we are using far more resources for transportation than we need to. There is an urgent need to revert to rail by insuring future investments in infrastructure to support rail services.


madcapmum said...

The building news is encouraging. Imagine fresh air - in a high rise!

I don't know if the rail is used more in Canada than Oz or not. It runs right past my house to the dry pea plant, so it looks pretty active to me, but then, the highways are pulsing with big trucks, too.

Granny said...

I was going to send a link to madcap but she's already here.

Wouldn't it be fabulous to see those buildings from the air?

We have two railroads running through the middle of town - they carry a lot of freight.

Of course, I live in the center of probably the largest agricultural section of the country.

Gary said...

Your Council Towers sounds amazing Lindsay. Great post.

I would love to see incentives in Canada to stimulate rail travel again (it's more expensive then flying for most routes today). Maybe the high prices for oil will bring this around again.

Val said...

I was interested in that Council Towers when I read about it in the newspaper recently. I wonder if they'll give tours. But such positive innovation is more than negated by the type of housing they allow people to build: west facing windows, no eaves, building out to the fencelines so no room for trees to give shade, etc etc.

VB said...

Hopefully the world will become a lot more environmentally conscious before its too late

laura said...

That's good news because in Texas, we still seem to be going the opposite direction! (Although I am pleased to say that Austin is known for being a "green" city with entire neighborhoods dedicated to being "green".)

The Council Towers are amazing!

Wendy A said...

Wow! How progressive. Wish the US would get out of the dark ages.

grannyfiddler said...

i've been reading Jane Jacobs of late. one of the things i like about her approach is the attitude that 'green city' is not an oxymoron... that the two concepts are compatible, and can coexist in a healthy way.

not that i'm a city person at all, but i do recognize that there are some very sound reasons for their existence, to do with practicality, efficiency, and economies of scale.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi Madcap, Granny, Gary, Val, VB, Aruba, Wendy & Grannyfiddler.
Increased rail infrastructure I think is needed in every country, as are buildings to reflect the new green revolution, including improved regulations for less material and energy consumption. Future cities, if green, can be an integral link of a sustainable future existence

bohemiantroubadour said...

British Petroleum really seems to care, about what, I have no idea.

"Beyond Petroleum" is making fun of environmentalism.

JuBlue said...

I love it. What is the humidity like in Melbourne in the summer? I've noticed since we got this house, and I don't like the kids to be out in the yard without keeping a close eye on them that you can shut everything down and throw the windows open and survive. :)

Rachael Byrnes said...

I love to imagine future greener cities and I'm very excited by seeing more edible community gardens in our cities. I’m also excited by the concept of living insulation see Imagine vines growing over city walls! What an aesthetic improvement that would be!!

I agree that rail would be a better option that the existing forms of transport however the “eating local, seasonal produce model” seems to be the most logical for a number of reasons. There are the obvious environmental reasons (less transport) but equally as important are the health and wellbeing benefits society would get from following this model. Let me explain. Humans have evolved to eat seasonally. In a relatively tiny period humans have organized systems so that they can eat virtually anything they want whenever they want. Although it’s lovely to eat a mango in winter.. there’s a price. Non seasonal global eating is causing all kinds of health ailments (eg: food allergies & intolerances) as well as a general psychological disconnection from the seasons and subtle forces that food grown in those seasons provide us with. For example, summer fruits help cool the body. Traditionally in Europe when nothing could grow in winter people would eat preserved foods (eg.. cheese) which, what do you know, heats the body. Perhaps if we were really in tune with the environment we wouldn’t feel like a mango in winter.

Eventually, I hope the community garden model will take off. I look forward to seeing people slow down, work less and spend more time dedicated to simple nourishing things like eating, cooking, growing and being happy. Certainly if everyone did this there would be less need for many types of “jobs” …GPs could probably work half the time.

Lindsay Lobe said...

Hi BH,Jublu and Rachael

I think BP are looking for a tinge of green, testing the waters to see what reaction they get !! Humidity okay in Melbourne.
Eating in season and local produce is definitely preferable.