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FAVOURITES -  20 May 2010 – Early this year leading Sydney planner and vocal advocate for planning reform in NSW Julie Bindon joined The Fifth Estate on a mini scouting expedition to Melbourne to see if the Victorians could shed any light on better planning systems. As part of this expedition we met with Melbourne architect Ivan Rijavec, a co-director of NOW+WHEN Australian Urbanism, the Australian Architecture exhibition at the 2010 Venice Biennale who has developed significant insights into... 
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By Nicola Woodward FAVOURITES: ANALYSIS – 26 July 2010 – It isn’t every Monday you wake up to the fact that a Sunday press release by the incumbent Government in the run up to a general election contains a promising policy. Yesterday the Labor party announced its Tax Breaks for Green Buildings initiative aimed at improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. If Labor is re-elected, the tax break will run from the 1 July 2011 until 30 June 2015 and reward building owners... 
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By Lynne Blundell FAVOURITES – 16 September 2010 – Demolition may have started at the Barangaroo site on Sydney’s old industrial waterfront but it will take a lot more than bulldozers to remove the accusations of lack of transparency in the planning process and misuse of public land being thrown at the NSW government and the sole developer of the site, Lend Lease. On the eve of last week’s deadline for public submissions on Lend Lease’s latest plans for the site, controversy... 
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15 September 2010 - A memorandum of understanding signed between the Green Building Council of Australia and the Planning Institute of Australia will see the two organisations work together on the development and delivery of the Green Star Communities rating tool. The GBCA’s chief executive Romilly Madew says that the partnership will help create a national benchmark for sustainable communities. “This MoU is particularly momentous, as best practice planning is vital if we are to deliver communities... 
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By David Wilson 8 September 2010 – In a paper first presented at the 3rd International Urban Design Conference in Canberra, August 2010, David Wilson argues that since “Big Australia” was announced by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in October 2009, the new Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s call for  a sustainable population policy announced in July 2010 was timely. The key to sustainable population is not population policy, it’s creating livable cities. Livable cities, like healthy... 
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Transcript 3rd International Urban Design Conference – 13 September 2010 – In a highly original take on a very difficult issue, one of the speakers at the 3rd International Urban Design Conference in Canberra last month included New Zealand planner Ian Munro, who wanted to make an “ethical argument” for centres-based residential intensification. Mr Munro, who manages the Urbanism Plus office, says that despite all best intentions, the centres based policies are failing... 
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by Lynne Blundell FAVOURITES – 26 August 2009 – Summer is on the way – well it certainly feels that way with Sydney last week experiencing the warmest August temperatures on record – and we haven’t even got to spring yet. And there’s a lot of talk of record high temperatures, low rainfall and more bushfires again this summer. But isn’t this how we always talk as winter comes to a close, our fear of drought and bushfire ever lurking? Well, if we do, these days there’s... 
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By Tina Perinotto 3 September 2010 – The 3rd International Urban Design Conference in Canberra this week finished with a bang, with some nice fiery debate on population and how to shift the anti-development sentiment that in its growing vehemence takes appropriate sustainable development in its wake. Master of ceremonies for the closing session was the compelling Jeremy Harris, a former Mayor of Hawaii and a biologist who spent his life as a politician. Key among the questions from the hundreds... 
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The Five Stages of Grief By Michael Baker This series of articles by retail analyst Michael Baker explores a retail format that is far more sustainable than its energy guzzling cousins at the mall. In her famous 1969 book, entitled “On Death and Dying”, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified the five stages of grief through which people typically go in dealing with personal tragedy: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Retail developers also have their five stages of grief, which... 
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By Lynne Blundell 11 August 2010 – FAVOURITES: In the six years since Melbourne-based LAB Architecture Studio started working in China the sustainability landscape has changed dramatically. Other Australians too have found the country moving fast on its sustainability agenda- especially once the authorities get behind an initiative. Nanjing,  for instance, is almost a forest of solar panels from the air. - With politicians on all sides in the lead up to the federal election throwing... 
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By Tina Perinotto 19 August 2010 – Lend Lease’s Chris Carolan is a happy man right now. He’s heading up a new company venture that has the potential to transform the average Australian’s view of renewable energy, by making it safer, cheaper and easier to have a mini-solar energy plant on the roof of your home or workplace. In the process he may just be in time to rescue an industry that shows signs of heading down the same path as the Federal Government’s failed attic... 
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By Tina Perinotto 20 August 2010 - Here’s a hypothetical: The new Federal Government is sworn in on Monday morning. The very first thing it does is convene a “citizen’s assembly” from key parts of the sustainable property industry to ask them what are the five most important things that it should do to fast-track a more sustainable built environment. Ready with their answers will be:  Lend Lease Group Head of Sustainability Maria Atkinson, Melbourne City Council’s Cathy... 
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BRIEF – 18 August 2010 – “Quality urban design does pay,” was the message of outgoing president of Living Streets Aotearoa Peter Kortegast at the recent this year’s Dollars and Sense of Walking conference held in Wellington, New Zealand. Creating walkable towns and cities through urban design – liveable communities that utilise walking as an optimal mode of transport – was the central theme of a recent conference  in Wellington New Zealand. Key speakers included walking consultant... 
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By Tina Perinotto 12 July 2010 - The GPT Group last week launched the upgrade to its premium-grade office building at 530 Collins Street in Melbourne to an early morning crowd of about 100 people. The tower is expected to score 5 stars for NABERS Energy after a major refurbishment that includes one of Melbourne’s few co-generation plants on its podium roof, and a refurbishment that comes complete with performance contract over the plant, the lighting and new water-efficient cooling towers. GPT... 
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11 August 2010 – UPDATE - Cundall has introduced a search function to its NABERS/Green Star Google Map that allows users to see which buildings have a NABERS or Green Star rating. Cundall managing director Simon Wild said that the application would assist landlords and tenants now that  mandatory disclosure will come into force on 1 November. “With mandatory disclosure coming in November landlords will need to know what the ratings are of the buildings around them to ensure the ongoing... 
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4 August 2010 – The winners of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects international ideas competition SEA-CHANGE 2030+ have been announced. The competition invited design proposals to protect the Sydney harbour foreshore from rising water or to make modifications to the environment to ensure sea level rise does not adversely affect property, parks and open spaces. Three equal first prizes were awarded in the professional team category, with each winning submission covering different... 
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By Michael Baker 4 August 2010 – There’s an old joke that speaks to the reliability of information received through our own senses compared with that received from what we think are trusted secondary sources. A man named Andy comes home and finds his wife and best friend Pete in bed together. The friend leaps out of the bed and says “Wait, Andy!  Before you jump to any conclusions, what are you going to believe, old buddy – me, or your own eyes?” What has this got to do with town... 
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by Andrew Starc 4 August 2010 - The Planning Institute of Australia has called on Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott to address the issue of long term planning by issuing five key planning priorities it says are vital to Australia’s long term success. PIA national president Neil Savery said in a media release yesterday that a new federal government will need to address five key planning priorities: Development of a population policy for sustainable growth and population distribution. Support for... 
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By Tina Perinotto FAVOURITES – 10 September 2009 -Picture this: an apartment tower constructed entirely in a factory — right down to the base fit-out and even the defects’’ rectification. The walls built of new lightweight materials, pre-insulated. The whole thing shifted like Lego blocks and assembled on site, in Little Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. No tight work regime of 7 am to 3 pm. Work shifts throughout the night, if you like. No more safety issues of tripping... 
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By Tina Perinotto 17 March 2010 – Australians could be on the cusp of “getting it” in terms of downsizing their houses to more sustainable and affordable levels, if you take note of Stockland chief executive Matthew Quinn. Mr Quinn, who heads Australia’s biggest residential developer, said the evidence was coming through in the rate of sales for Stockland’s smaller and dramatically lower cost dwellings it had recently released at the Highlands community in Melbourne.  “They’re... 
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By Lynne Blundell 29 July 2010 – The Melbourne co-housing group, Urban Coup, is getting closer to making its dream a reality – that is, creating a community where resources, ideas and skills are shared on a daily basis. There is a strong sense in the group that the concept has finally come of age. Last year The Fifth Estate reported on the then group of 11 that was going beyond green building and design to embrace true community living with other similar-minded people. Many worked in the... 
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26 July 2010 - China has decided it will put a price on carbon, starting next year, it has decided to use a market mechanism because an administrative one is too expensive; and its top 1000 energy consumers have signed contracts to reduce energy consumption according to China Daily. The country is set to begin domestic carbon trading programs during its 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) to help it meet its 2020 carbon intensity target. The decision was made at a closed-door meeting chaired by... 
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By Tina Perinotto 29 June 2010 – The Planning Institute of Australia today came out in support of the Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “more measured approach” to population growth for Australia, but it will have a fight on its hands from the property sector. Key to the new approach, said PIA president Neil Savery, was use of the word “sustainable” in a population context. “The Prime Minister’s approach is not advocating that there shouldn’t be an increase in population or... 
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29 June, 2010 – A series of three reports released by Parsons Brinckerhoff and the Curtin University Sustainable Policy Institute have shown that active-travel cities are 6 per cent more productive. Authors of the report, Roman Trubka, Peter Newman and Darren Bilsborough, show that higher productivity in active-travel cities – which encourage people to walk and cycle – is forecast to generate close to $40 million in health and productivity savings over the nex50 years. The three complementary... 
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By Tina Perinotto 28 June 2010 – Sustainability consultant Shauna Coffey (formerly of Mirvac) and Investa’s Craig Roussac were among guests who turned out for the launch of the Energy Efficiency Council’s new policy Platform for 2010 at 260 Elizabeth Street, Sydney, one of Investa’s buildings which it retrofitted to a 4.5 star NABERS Energy standard. Australia urgently needed action to save energy said EEC chief executive officer of the council, Rob Murray-Leach, said at the launch:... 
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Brief – 25 July, 2010 – Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum have agreed to embark on a project to create up to 20 low-carbon model cities using energy-efficient technologies including smart grids and renewable power generation. Announced at APEC’s forum meeting in Japan 19 June, the 21-member body will set up a task force to choose cities for the Low-Carbon Model Town Project within the next three years. Japan’s trade minister said after the forum that Tianjin, in north-eastern... 
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By Andrew Starc 25 June 2010 - Bond University’s Mirvac School of Sustainable Development building has been awarded the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Szencorp Green Building Award. The first educational building in Australia to achieve a 6 Star Green Star – Education Pilot Certified Rating for its sustainable features and innovative design, this latest award builds on a list of accolades, including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Sustainability Award... 
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17 June 2010 – The fact that Sydney wasn’t listed first or second on the KPMG audit of major cities’ planning systems probably says as much as you need to know about whether or not some action is urgently needed, the audience at the Built Environment Meets Parliament summit in Canberra this week heard. Melbourne, by contrast, came out at the top of the league tables, as befits Australia’s second major city. However, even the top results in the survey bring no room for complacency. The... 
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Brief – 16 July, 2010 – The Australian Local Government Association has launched its Local Roads and Transport Agenda, outlining a vision for the next decade. President of the ALGA Geoff Lake said that local councils play a significant role in the planning and maintenance of roads and transport infrastructure, with the agenda setting forth a plan to tackle issues relating to Australia’s population growth and climate change. “Transport is one of the major areas of local government... 
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by Andrew Starc 15 June, 2010 – The Australian Conservation Foundation’s first sustainable cities index today nominated Darwin as Australia’s most liveable city among a list of 20. But though Darwin was a clear winner on several measures, particularly biodiversity and air quality,  the index ranked the city amongst the worst performing for  ecological footprint -  18th -  and preparedness for climate change -  15th. Across the board, Australian cities did not fare well with... 
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