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      SUSTAINABILITY ON THE URBAN SCALE: ‘GREEN URBANISM’—MARK II

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          Abstract

          In the essay entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable City Centre’ (published in JGB Summer 2006), the author reflected on principles how to best integrate ecologically sustainable development (ESD) into urban design. This second paper reports on his continuing research in the area of ‘Green Urbanism’. 1

          Among the most significant environmental challenges of our time are global climate change, excessive fossil fuel dependency and the growing demand for energy—all likely to be major challenges of the 21st century and one of the greatest problems facing humanity. In this context, urban design and the fundamental principles of how to shape our cities has barely featured in the greenhouse debate. Much of the debate in related areas has so far circled around ideas about active technology for ‘eco-buildings’. This is surprising, since almost half the energy consumed is used in cities and urban built-up areas, and given that avoiding mistakes in urban design at early stages could genuinely lead to more sustainable cities and less greenhouse gas emission. This article reflects upon practical strategies focused on increasing sustainability beyond and within the scope of individual buildings.

          The paper deals with cross-cutting issues in architecture and urban design and addresses the question of how we can best cohesively integrate all aspects of energy systems, transport systems, waste and water management, passive and active strategies, climatisation and so on, into contemporary urban design and improved environmental performance of our cities. It provides a context for a general debate about the regeneration of the city centre, and discusses how urbanism is affected (and can be expected to be even more affected in future) by the paradigms of ecology.

          The significance of the research is found in the pressing need for an integration of sustainability principles in the urban design process of cities in South East Asia and the general need for a sustainable city development. It will be of particular relevance to the rapid urban growth of developing cities that have, in the past, frequently been poorly managed. Research in sustainable urban design recommends increased harnessing of the energies manifested in the existing fabrics—for instance, through the adaptive re-use of former industrial (brownfield) sites and the upgrade and extension of existing building structures. It is less environmentally damaging to stimulate growth within the established city centre rather than sprawling into new, formerly un-built areas. Two recent examples for the application of such urban design principles are the author’s proposals for the Australian city of Newcastle: the ‘City Campus’ and ‘Port City’ projects.

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          The compact city: just or just compact? A preliminary analysis

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            TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE CITY CENTRE: INTEGRATING ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (ESD) PRINCIPLES INTO URBAN RENEWAL

            This paper reflects upon a wide range of strategies focused on increasing sustainability of urban design beyond and within the scope of individual buildings. By examining the case study of the Australian city of Newcastle, the paper provides a context for a general debate about the urban design of a sustainable city centre, and discusses how urban design is affected (and can be expected to be even more affected in future) by the new paradigms of ecology. In this context, the author presents the case study of ‘SolarCity’, which is based on a vision for the revitalisation of Newcastle’s city centre. It is an in-progress research and demonstration project, involving Australian and German architects, engineers and industry partners. It deals with cross-cutting issues in architecture and urban design and addresses the question: How to best cohesively integrate all aspects of energy systems, transport systems, waste and water management, climatisation, etc., into contemporary urban design and the environmental performance of eco-buildings? The ‘SolarCity’ project encapsulates a vision based on the belief that urban revitalisation can be achieved and facilitated through the use of sustainable urban design principles. Consequently, this paper addresses the fundamentals of urban sustainability, such as orientation to the sun, and general strategies for more compact communities. As we begin to fully understand the consequences of our dependency on fossil energy and the automobile, the cost of mobility, and ways to integrate sustainability systems into buildings, it becomes apparent that the common knowledge of aesthetics of urban composition is no longer sufficient.
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              DESIGN STRATEGIES FOR GREEN PRACTICE

              Should green buildings not only work differently, but also look, feel, and be conceived differently? The emergence of LEED accreditation as the leading form of environmental performance monitoring and its associated points and checklist format can mask the necessity for architectural projects to have focused and effective design strategies that integrate sustainability with the design process. Green accountability does not always go hand in hand with architectural quality: a good building is certainly not necessarily a green building, while a green building is not always a good work of architecture. So it becomes important to recognize the unique character and possibilities in each project and then to develop environmentally responsive concepts that support and enhance the form of the architecture. This article discusses the current context for “Green Design Practice” through a series of quite different design assignments where the focus is upon enabling the design to emerge from the recognition of the “environmental and sustainability potential.”
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                jgrb
                Journal of Green Building
                College Publishing
                1552-6100
                1943-4618
                1943-4618
                Summer 2007
                : 2
                : 3
                : 59-78
                Author notes

                1Professor Steffen Lehmann, Ph.D., AffRAIA, BDA, Chair holder, Director of Space_Laboratory for Architectural Research and Design, in the School of Architecture & Built Environment, at The University of Newcastle (Australia). He is Session Chair for the topic ‘Sustainability on the Urban Scale’ at the 96 th Annual ACSA Meeting and Conference in March 2008 in Houston, Texas.

                Further information: www.slab.com.au. Contact email: steffen.lehmann@ 123456newcastle.edu.au .

                Article
                jgb.2.3.59
                10.3992/jgb.2.3.59
                ©2007 by College Publishing. All rights reserved.

                Volumes 1-7 of JOGB are open access and do not require permission for use, though proper citation should be given. To view the licenses, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

                Page count
                Pages: 18
                Product
                Categories
                RESEARCH ARTICLES

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