Breathing space and life after climate change

Life in the civilised lane is rule-bound and consumption-driven to the point that it is not unusual for our heartfelt aspirations to run contrary to the promise of modern living. Not only has the fundamental concept of sustainability become difficult to envisage, but modern-day sustainability seems unable to prevent the social destruction of communities through […]

The Pandemic and city formation

Capital flow is moving Australia’s way – strongly. What’s the bet that well-managed cities are the winner in the aftermath of Covid? As the impact of Covid-19 advances are the old theories still good? Is urban life still viable and desirable?  Much of the response to Covid-19 emphasised distancing, avoiding gatherings and public transport.  In […]

In the eye of the storm, great things are possible

Recovery investment in green infrastructure, education and training, R+D into clean tech and agriculture, and real investment into renewable energy would certainly herald a new policy position on action on climate change. It would assist the economic recovery, and demonstrate a willingness to make smart decisions in the eye of the storm. The Covid-19 emergency […]

Alan Pears: Submission on the federal government’s Technology Investment Roadmap

The Technology Investment Roadmap discussion paper provides a useful review of a range of technologies that could contribute to management of Australia’s climate impact. But this is just one (important) element of the actions required for Australia to build a successful clean energy-based economy.

The Planners Declare movement is here

Australian planners have declared a climate and biodiversity emergency.

Gas is not the solution for our clean energy future

Say it with me: gas is not a transition fuel. COVID-19 could be the trigger for the much-needed step change in our clean energy transition. But the Morrison government has stacked the National COVID-19 Coordination Committee with oil and gas sector representatives, pushing for fossil fuel lobby-led economic recovery. It looks like gas is tipped […]

The electricity market is about to turn upside down – in a good way

On 31 August 2018, three public advocacy groups wrote to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) asking it to change the rules governing how the Australian electricity market works. Their request? Allow consumers to be paid for electricity they avoid using.

Universities need to take building education more seriously if we want to reform the industry

With the successful passing of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2019 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Bill 2020, attention now moves to the implementation of the NSW building reforms.  These bills are part of a wider industry reform strategy called Construct NSW which is the NSW government’s response to the […]

Investing in needs-based housing? How about getting the sustainability right?

The Victorian government has announced one of the largest investment in social and needs-based housing since the Global Financial Crisis. It’s important that providers integrate sustainability benchmarking across their operations and asset portfolios to align their organisations with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will place providers in the best position to ensure upgrades […]

Taxing the voter to keep the candles – a thoroughly mesmerising government

The government’s new approach to climate change is simply mesmerising. Thankfully you’re no longer paying attention. Gaze intently upon this swinging spoon. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh. “Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh. You’re in a deep sleep now. You hear an energy minister talking faintly about a new way to deal with climate change. An ingenious plan […]

Letter to the editor from former Australian PM Kevin Rudd

Dear editor Re: On myopic split systems thinking – and environmentalism’s struggle with racism I’m glad to see you’ve acknowledged the Liberal Party’s fraudulent claims about my government’s Energy Efficient Homes program during the global financial crisis. However, I wish you’d shown the same level of attention to other aspects of our stimulus strategy. For […]

Social value: the next great leap in Melbourne and Sydney’s transit infrastructure

In Melbourne and Sydney, investment in transit infrastructure is at an unprecedented high. How these two cities are learning from places with developed transit-related value capture models, such as Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, to ensure that the investment brings broad, long-lasting social value and environmental benefits to the surrounding communities? Melbourne is currently […]

Improving consumer confidence in apartments rests on making information about defects available to all

Finding relevant information about potential defects of an apartment building is hard for a team of dedicated researchers, let alone for consumers. The new industry-based Multi-Party Risk Rating Tool is a start but will it be enough? We recently wrote an article, lack of information on apartment defects leaves whole market on shaky footings, outlining […]

Hitting the “pause” button on your career

“How people treat you is their Karma; how you react is yours” – Wayne Dyer Just the word itself, redundant, is harsh when you look at the definition: “no longer needed or useful; superfluous”. The loss of confidence that comes with the notion of being redundant can be debilitating, especially if it was a role […]

Ethics should lie at the heart of the new construction industry

The NSW Building Commissioner’s most recent communication deals with why an ethical and authentic developer or construction enterprise will have the most customers in future. According to David Chandler ethics and authenticity lie at the heart of what makes a construction business distinctive, in demand and ultimately successful. Most leading companies in the construction industry realise […]

Nobody wins from rent moratoriums, not even landlords

Jay is an international student at the Canberra University of Technology. When she and her housemate both lost their jobs in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, their landlord reacted in the worst possible way: he refused to reduce the rent, instead increasing it by $15 per week.  Jay and millions of renters like her […]

Aged care facilities have been at the centre of the Covid crisis. Here’s how their design can change to lessen risk.

With the elderly community most at risk, seniors’ housing for retirement living and aged care is at the coalface of change to manage COVID-19 and any future infectious diseases. For the past few months, the focus of seniors’ living providers, especially those offering residential aged care, has been literally on staying alive and protecting their […]

Don’t blame planning for a supply shortage and rising house prices

Recently I argued that cutting red tape or fast-tracking planning approvals would not help the housing market recover from its COVID afflictions. Some developer lobbyists have responded, doubling-down on the claim that rapid and less scrutinised approvals are essential for property market recovery. This claim underpins their attacks on the planning system – it demands […]

Australia’s role in COVID-19 recovery lies in its diverse economy

The COVID-19 crisis has upended local and global economies, disrupted supply chains and prompted politicians and the global citizenry alike think about what sort of world we want to live in. The immediate focus is on economic recovery but the subsequent focus on reform represents an opportunity for meaningful change. In Australia, our manufacturing and […]

Will streamlining planning make a difference to housing outcomes?

There has been a lot of talk by developer lobby groups about the need to unclog the planning system to assist economic recovery post COVID 19. And the NSW government is putting out media releases saying that rapid approvals are injecting billions of dollars into the state’s economy. Thinking that approvals are going to lead […]

Jack Mundey, the Liverpudlian and some other expats

MEMOIRS: Some reflections on the impact of Jack Mundey, who pioneered the green bans movement to protect the built environment and who passed away this week. My partner Lisa had completed a Cambridge certificate for teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) before we went to Taiwan. She wanted to have something to do while […]