Technology and its Place in Healthy Cities

Local Ecommerce and Sustainable Towns – Will our Regional towns and communities be saved by digital highways?

The evidence is clear. Regional identity and lifestyle is in decline. This decline has been long term and gradual. The issue is what are we going to do about it? Decades of concern and initiatives have done little to strengthen the future prosperity of regional communities. To turn things around and deliver the community’s aspirations for the future of their children and grandchildren will clearly require a new approach.

How do we….create great regions to live, work and play… places of Opportunity & Lifestyle?

This is a familiar vision for most regional communities and is a very practical definition of what “sustainability” means at the grassroots. Recent natural disasters in regional Australia have only added to the pressure on regional communities and the vitality of local business.

To counter the momentum of long term economic and social decline it will require strategic interventions of significant scale and impact. In regional communities the critical focus of sustainable growth, where change strengthens the community, centres on the ability deliver well paid local jobs for families across the region.

Strategic interventions need to deliver new skills, increased productivity, increased internet capabilities and the adaption of regional identity and lifestyle in a world subject to climate change and increasing energy costs.

The integration of Local Ecommerce into regional towns and communities may well be a once in generational opportunity to revitalise regional Australia. But what works in the city is different to what works in the regions. This paper provides insights and tips to how to develop local ecommerce that will promote the growth of regional local business and why this approach needs to be significantly different from city based local ecommerce.

Robert Prestipino, Director, Vital Places QLD will speak at the Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference

Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th July  2011 at the  Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa NOOSA, Queensland


“Sustainable Growth ???”

Is there such a process as “sustainable growth”? The term appears frequently in government reports and in company strategic plans. “Sustainable growth” holds out the tantalising prospect that a society can achieve the holy grail of sustainability – the modern term for alignment with environmental imperatives – without forgoing the benefits of economic expansion. These benefits include rising standards of living, full employment, increasing opportunities for investment or professional development – and generally rising wealth for all. 

 “Sustainability” implies a steady-state condition, not one built upon expansion or increasing throughput of material resources, but if it is based upon utilisation of renewable resources, then the steady-state condition may be satisfied. “Growth” is commonly used as a shorthand term for “economic growth” which relies upon geometrically expanding extraction and throughput of material resources, which is unsustainable in a finite planet, but there are forms of community advancement other than “growth” in this material sense.

We need to address related questions such as: Is there any way of decoupling a rise in living standards from throughput of biophysical resources? Is it possible to have rising real wealth other than by accumulating more physical goods which means more demands upon the earth’s resources? Is it possible to slow down economic expansion without risking plunging the economy into recession? The paper is particularly relevant to healthy cities because most expositions of what “healthy” means include an economic dimension. Is there such a thing as a healthy economy other than one that is actively expanding and so placing growing demands upon the resources of the biophysical environment?

Dr Geoff Edwards, Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre for Governance and Public Policy

4th Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference. The Outrigger Resort and Spa,  Little Hastings St, Noosa – 27-29 July 2011

Shopping not a waste of Energy

General waste that will be produced at Sydney’s newest shopping centre, Top Ryde City, is scheduled to be recovered and reused to create renewable electricity, thanks to an innovative and sustainable waste management process implemented by Veolia Environmental Services.

In a bid to reduce the amount of general waste and recyclable materials going to traditional landfills, Veolia Environmental Services is looking to recover up to 60-65% of all general waste and recyclable materials, once the centre launches on November 5.  The company’s Woodlawn Eco-Precinct enables general waste to be recovered and reused.  General waste from the Ryde site will be transported to our Woodlawn Bioreactor, where the gas produced from the waste breaking down, will be used to create renewable energy. 

Top Ryde City’s management estimates that it will produce approximately 1,440 tonnes of general waste a year.  By utilising bioreactor technology, Veolia will able to produce approximately 411,840kWh of electricity per annum from this waste.  With households estimated at using 8000kWh of electricity per year [i], a year’s general waste from Top Ryde City is estimated to produce enough power for 50 households for a year. Michelle Thomas, Defined Developments Project Marketing Manager, says the work that Veolia Environmental Services provides is ground-breaking. “It is wonderful to know that a shopping centre of this size can make a genuine difference to its eco footprint,” said Mrs Thomas.

Veolia estimates that each tonne of Commercial and Industrial (C&I) waste sent to its Woodlawn Bioreactor instead of a traditional landfill, will help save 1.2 tonnes of greenhouse gas (tCO2-e) [ii]. The company also estimates that 1,440 tonnes of general waste produced at Top Ryde City a year, will equate to a saving of 1,728 tonnes of greenhouse gases (tCO2-e) per year. This is equivalent to taking 430 cars off the road for a year [iii] or planting over 6,000 trees [iv].

Healthy Cities Conference,  Noosa, July 2011

Present a paper at the Conference

Healthy Cities: 4th Making Cities Liveable Conference

Thursday  28th and Friday 29th July  2011

Venue: The Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa NOOSA, Queensland

“Healthy cities are all about local involvement. They continually and actively explore ways to contribute to implementing WHO strategies at the urban and local levels. They have the potential to provide essential public health leadership, to create the preconditions for healthier living and participatory governance and to facilitate intersectoral action. Further, in times of economic downturn, city governments can play a key role as advocates and guardians of the health needs of the people who are most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged”. WHO

“Where people live affects their health and chances of leading flourishing lives. Communities and neighbourhoods that ensure access to basic goods, that are socially cohesive, that are designed to promote good physical and psychological wellbeing, and that are protective of the natural environment are essential for health equity.” Closing the gap in a generation report,WHO

The 4th Making Cities Liveable Conference will be a platform for Government and Industry sector professionals to discuss causes, effects and solutions that relate to population health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change and urban design and more.  Delegates will examine the impact of urban and transport planning on the health and well-being of the population and the planet.

We will examine public policy and social/community outcomes and consider what actions we can take to positively influence the ongoing debate.

+ Intensification of Regional Cities and Places
+ Impacts of buying local on Community Sustainability
+ Green Principles Green Design – The Future for Viable Healthy Cities

2. Coastal Urbanisation – Rapid Development Affecting Sense of Place

3. Climate Change Adaptation

+ Renewable Energy
+ Community Engagement
+ Natural Resource Management
+ Waste Reuse Technologies

4. Links between Environmental Sustainability and Human Health: the Co-benefits Framework
+ Population Health Management – immunisation, bio security, food safety and epidemic control
+ Managing Communicable Disease Outbreaks – Health Security
+ Child-friendly Cities – Physical Environments in our Cities and Neighbourhoods
+ Disaster Management – public welfare –  recovery and rebuild

5. Technology and its Place in Healthy Cities
6. Managing Legislation and Policy to achieve Healthy Cities

Submit an abstract here