FLICK THE SWITCH – Sian Willmott: An ESD consultant’s guide to net zero in office buildings

The challenge to deliver net zero all-electric buildings is a formidable one. And no-one knows that better than an ESD consultant. Victorian based AECOM principal sustainability consultant Sian Willmott is well familiar with the task. Her remit in all-electric projects stretches from education to healthcare and the commercial sector. When it comes to office buildings, […]

10 ways to keep Sunshine Coast liveable and sustainable

As more people flock to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the temperate climate and breathtaking views, the Sunshine Coast Council is looking for ways to accommodate growth without compromising sustainability, liveability and affordability.  The council has launched a new design guide specific to the region, complete with 10 guiding principles specific to the unique […]

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 […]

Calls to take over road space for active transport – even AC (after covid)

A national campaign to turn more road space over to bikes and pedestrians during (and after) the coronavirus pandemic is gaining traction, with calls mounting for state governments to temporarily delegate more authority to councils to “do this quickly”. A number of doctors, public health and transport researchers have signed a letter calling on governments […]

Sydney’s complacent planning when we need resilience and urgent change

What do you get for $2.5 million in Sydney? The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has been throwing this sort of money at Sydney councils to do some strategic planning, and is just about to learn how poor value-for-money Sydney can be.

Greater Sydney Commission farewells Lucy Turnbull

Lucy Turnbull AO has stepped down from her role as chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission. Ms Turnbull, who was the first female Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney from 2003-4 and in 2011, has left the strategic planning organisation to spend more time with her family and commence “other opportunities” that the […]

On Brisbane’s medium density dilemma and a council election

News from the front desk, issue 467: There’s an election looming for the Brisbane City Council on 28 March and urban planning looks like shaping up as a key issue that could sway the result.

7 tools to help UK developers reduce life-cycle carbon emissions

More and more developers want to cut down the life cycle and embodied carbon of their projects – the greenhouse gas emissions caused by producing and delivering materials and construction at the site, and by their in-use and end-of-life phases.

Rolling the dice on planning at Star casino and its giant proposal

The scale of Star City’s proposed hotel and apartment tower has ignited opposition, but why is nobody talking about what’s really going on? Here’s a look at how manipulating planning rules can create massive uplift in value – for private hands at almost no cost. Like money out of thin air in fact…

Ways to finance deep energy retrofits from around the world

It’s not possible for the world to just “fuel switch our way out of global climate disruption” according to one construction industry observer. We have to invest significantly in making buildings energy efficient at a rate much greater than we do now.

Working with refugees to tap creative potential

The same creative and innovative thinking used to design skyscrapers can also deliver solutions at the microscale. In refugee camps for instance.

Wishlist of goals for cities and nationwide planning

MP John Alexander flagged some ambitious goals for cities and nation-wide planning when he addressed The Fifth Estate’s Tomorrowland. Now see what he’s announced.

Getting the temperature just right helps people with dementia stay cool

What happens when you can’t control the temperature where you live? This problem is faced by many residents of aged care facilities, and can be particularly difficult for those living with dementia.

Suburb “Cool Scores” key to solving Sydney’s heatwave woes

Relief from the blistering summer heat has been flagged as a top priority in a new plan aimed at shoring up Sydney’s resilience to a range of threats such as climate change, congestion and housing affordability.

Q&A: The Indigenous design perspective

In Australia, and many other countries with colonial pasts, mainstream design – including architecture, town planning, as well as fashion, interior, product and landscape design – has largely eschewed both Indigenous design and designers.

The misconceptions about performance-based design

Some people think performance-based design solutions are too confusing, expensive or a sneaky way to cut corners. But according to Sid Thoo, performance-based solutions offer a holistic approach that can see buildings meet optimum standards, rather than just minimum ones.

NAIDOC week puts indigenous-led design in the spotlight

NAIDOC week has brought to the fore an emerging interest in Indigenous-led design and planning of the built environment, and with it, a deeply-ingrained approach to sustainability that defines the Aboriginal culture.

The living buildings of the future

I recently participated in the Living Future unConference, the annual event that leads the world in regenerative design.

The five factors of workplace wellbeing

Bates Smart studio director Kellie Payne recently spoke at The Fifth Estate’s Bring Your Office to Life event in Brisbane on the factors needed for a healthy, sustainable and productive workplace.