Tag Archives: climate change

Architecture discovers the bleeding obvious

Comment: Architects realise something is wrong with cities

rmitJust read a short article about how an architect at the world architecture festival stated that something has gone wrong with the design of our cities!

Wow! Now there’s a revelation from the profession largely responsible for the problem.

Continue reading Architecture discovers the bleeding obvious

Big Coal

Comment: there’s hope yet on how to hinder big coal.

coaldrag2Many national governments, including Australia, persist in allowing Big Coal to influence its environmental and energy policies. However there is hope as a world-wide trend continues as corporations start to divest themselves of investments in the Big Coal companies.

Continue reading Big Coal

Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Review: Landscape

Guilfoyle’s Volcano at Melbourne Botanic Gardens

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This is a job well done. I saw an article about this and was determined to have a look. Now if only those promoting it had been sensible and given an address.

Continue reading Melbourne Botanic Gardens Guilfoyle’s Volcano

Wind Power and Heritage

Comment: Wind Power aesthetics

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Recently a colleague expressed doubts about how he viewed a new wind farm that appeared in a landscape that he and his son loved to escaped into when time allowed. While he is totally committed to alternative energy, the issue he was working through was that the wind farm challenged his aesthetics, or to be more accurate he was still having trouble accepting them in this landscape that had been part of his memory since childhood.

Continue reading Wind Power and Heritage

Al Gore: New Hope for Climate

Al Gore writes on optimism in dealing with Climate Change

In an article in Rolling Stone, Al Gore provides some very welcome optimism on how we may yet deal with the coming climate change events.

The article is very very long. It takes quite a commitment to allow the time to get through it all.

It is worth it! Happy reading. Click here.

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Paul Costigan, 20 July 2014

 

Solar: Good Behaviour at Home

Political Comment

The Prime Minister and Solar and how good behaviour starts in your own backyard.

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It well established that how people behave in their own back yards normally reflects their attitude to the world outside their household. Our Prime Minister is having his house, The Lodge, refurbished. This was well overdue.

Continue reading Solar: Good Behaviour at Home

Climate Game nearly Over

A report from Bill McKibben
Reporting on the possible end game in Climate Change – three books mentioned.

 

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Not sure what more can be said.

The climate change actions by our governments remains pathetic given that the climate change effects have been with us for too long and the end game is even closer than anyone had predicted.

Click here.

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Paul Costigan, 28 June 2014

Sydney Urbanity and Architecture

Is architecture is failing contemporary Sydney? Part One

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There is no doubt that the City of Sydney and its harbour are magnificent to behold. (click on the photo to enlarge). The mix of built structures really makes for a view that demands you take the time to stare, contemplate and to just enjoy it for as long as it takes. However…..

Continue reading Sydney Urbanity and Architecture

Sydney Urbanity & Architecture

Is architecture is failing contemporary Sydney? Part One

 

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There is no doubt that the City of Sydney and its harbour are magnificent to behold. (click on the photo to enlarge). The mix of built structures really makes for a view that demands you take the time to stare, contemplate and to just enjoy it for as long as it takes. However…..

Continue reading Sydney Urbanity & Architecture

Canberra Urbanity and Development

Recent Canberra Government development announcements

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In recent weeks and months there have been several significant development proposals announced by the territory (ACT) government in Canberra. If all the government’s ambitions come to fruition then residents about to witness some very serious alterations and additions to the make-up of several parts of the inner city urban fabric.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity and Development

Just Say No

Comment: on being True to the Planet can mean sometimes you have to just say no.

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How are we being served by our professions in their provision of buildings and landscape projects? The highest priority for the future of the planet remains that every action be taken in the context of addressing climate change adaptation.

Continue reading Just Say No

Grand Designs Australia

Review: TV program (on DVD)
Grand Designs Australia – season Three

XYZ23902_GDAS3.pdfOccasionally it is good to sit back and watch a series of programs about how people are going about building their homes. In this case, the programs are based on the UK long running series, Grand Designs. The commentator, Peter Maddison, is an Australian architect who follows more or less the same lines as the UK presenter, Kevin McCloud.

Series 3 is dated 2012. However, despite its currency, the amount attention paid by architects, builders, the developers and the presenter himself to the need to address climate change adaptation is minimal in most of the case studies. Continue reading Grand Designs Australia

all that green-wash

How those carbon offsets can do more environmental harm than good
q3gx4hds-1401170769Beware of all that green-wash.

Yet again there’s a nice piece on The Conversation about how we need to be far more serious about carbon. It also points towards the use of Green-Wash by corporations to allow them to continue with business as usual.

I have commented on this on our other blog – The Sustainable Settlements Institute – click here

Featured Landscape Architect

Recommendation

Looking for a Landscape Architect in South Australia?

We highly recommend calling the great people at outerspace landscape architects

Click on the logo below for more. (or here)

outerspaceand I am sure that they could negotiate on any job elsewhere in Australia

Joe Hockey for Coal

Opinion: The Australia’s Treasurer’s anti climate statements

Even when you know you have one of the most stupid governments on earth, it is still amazing when the Australian Government’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says wind turbines ‘utterly offensive’!

lake-george-CanbTimes

Read the article: click here

But wait! we have the solution for Joe. Let’s get rid of those horrible things on the horizon.

Continue reading Joe Hockey for Coal

wetlands

Comment: Wetlands and Climate Change Adaptation

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Australia has a very mixed understanding and relationship with wetlands. I happen to be fortunate to live close to one. This came into existence just a couple of years ago when the local government transformed a disused and degraded parkland into a wetland attached to an old style concrete drain.

Continue reading wetlands

Canberra Urbanity – Fast Track Developments

Opinion: Proposals on fast track development precincts
Introducing democracy into ACT planning and development

crowd-P1020498Feathers have been quietly ruffled locally as the ACT Government (local government for Canberra) has announced it is to introduce a new proposal that would see identified precincts developed using a fast-track development process. This change to planning has been reported on in the Canberra Times and should be read before reading my comments that follow below – click here

What follows was edited down as  a ‘letter to the editor’ on this subject.

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity – Fast Track Developments

IPCC and climate change

George Monbiot: Loss Adjustment

Following the IPCC report earlier this week, it was predictable that these dire warnings received just token media attention. The reporting was more along the lines of ‘just another report’. With the current Australian Government stuck in ‘business as usual’ mode, being just do what we did in 20th Century, I suspect this important report will be quietly ignored by the population.

George Monbiot has used a another story to make his point – click here

The Farrell Review UK

Report: The Built Environment

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In January 2013 the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, commissioned a review of architecture and the built environment. The report is now available online.  The recommendations covered: Education, Outreach and Skills; Design Quality; Cultural Heritage; Economic Benefits; and Built Environment Policy.

See our other blog for more details and comments click here

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Paul Costigan, 2 April 2014

Climate Change

Report from the IPCC

rabbitt01Dear Sir Rabbott: The latest IPCC report predicts future food and water supply insecurities, calls for both mitigation and adaptation. No further information is necessary – it is all in the reports – please read them and bring Australia’s national action on climate change into the 20th (and then maybe the 21st) century.

The Guardian – click here – or – The UK Independent – click here

Climate Council

Report: The Angry Summer

ba9e755e8d612a34ae915d28114d8f1fContinuing hot on the heels of the ‘Angry Summer’ of 2012/2013, Australians again endured record breaking extreme events this summer. The Climate Council’s report provides a summary of extreme weather conditions in the 2013/2014 summer, illuminating a continuing trend of hotter summers and more weather extremes in Australia. click on the graphic for more.

Empires of Food

Review: Book

Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Evan D. G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas.  Random House, 2010

empiresoffoodAs if there was not enough information available on how the world is not paying attention to all the warning signs, this book was recommended to me to make me aware of the dire situation coming our way in relation to the supply of adequate food for coming generations.

This is all linked in with the issues of climate change, population growth and the way we have allowed our food supplies to be controlled by particular market and political forces. This book is a must read for all.

Continue reading Empires of Food

Soils

Book Review (re-posted): Soils

What Has Nature Ever Done for Us

There is book review on the Guardian site. This is timely as Australia government goes through all sorts of actions to set the clock back on environmental issues. I dread what chance anyone would have right now of confronting this government over the long-term treatment of our soils, our biodiversity; in fact anything at all to do with nature.

Continue reading Soils

climate’s dark art

dealing with climate’s dark art

The desperate need for frank, honest, timely and evidence based advice.

 

max-P1020481Remember how things were during the more optimistic days of living in Australia, when climate change was not a dirty word or two?I am referring to the times of the Kevin Rudd and then Julie Gillard governments.

Back then the country was known internationally as taking a whole raft of initiatives to deal with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Continue reading climate’s dark art

Get Real on Climate Change

Definitely time to Get Real about Climate Change

There are may time as a citizen, that one despairs that any government is really going to Get Real about climate change.

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This is more frustrating because as we all know that they have at their finger tips all the advice and scientific information necessary for intelligent and timely decisions. Yet for so many governments, it is business as usual.

Continue reading Get Real on Climate Change

Climate Change voices

Comment: More Climate Change Voices required

It is definitely time for political leaders and other voices to take the issues of climate change up to the mainstream media and the bunch of nut jobs who we politely call climate deniers.

The United States President and the White House team have been unable to deliver on its climate and environmental agendas due to the emasculation of anything sensible by the legislators. This should not stop any or all of them making more leadership statements to encourage the rest of the world and their own state governments to get on with dealing with the enormous challenges.

Continue reading Climate Change voices

neglected trees

Opinion: Trees

and yes, we should be looking after them.

During times of heat, drought, and extreme temperatures, it really demonstrates how the planning of Canberra, ‘the garden city’, was based on serious misunderstandings.

click on any photograph to enlarge it

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Continue reading neglected trees

Lawns of Kingston

Opinion: the Lawns of Kingston return

Beware politicians and designers: We love our Lawns

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In a previous post I had spoken of Australia’s love of the lawn. (click here)

In particular I mentioned a local battle over Green Square at the Kingston Shops in Canberra whereby the local government had replaced a green square of lawn with a designed space,  complete with brick walls and seating and drought friendly, low maintenance plants.

Continue reading Lawns of Kingston

Drought

Opinion: It is hot!
Drought

I am writing this while the temperature outside is about 38 degrees Celsius. It is hot and dry in SE Australia and has been for weeks and it may be this way for a couple of weeks to come.

Australia had its 10 year drought and now the yearly temperatures have settled down to being the hottest on record. And it just keeps on being hot and dry. Yet the government does not think it there is anything to worry about.

Continue reading Drought

Leadership in Landscape Design

Leadership in Landscape Design
Online Presentation:
The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System

olmstedDespite all the evidence and all the advocacy, our political leaders are still not up to the challenge of dealing with something that is a threat to life as we have come to know it here on this planet. True leadership seems to be in short supply these days.

Continue reading Leadership in Landscape Design

Big Coal

Big Coal: It’s time to celebrate (or not) Australia Day
meanwhile people in North West NSW, continue to battle Big Coal.

 

From the Guardian (Friday 24 January): ; an article by Phil Laird.

9833f4cd-5e93-4db0-9d04-d5bb6bd07f9e-460x276Protest at Maules Creek. Photograph: Kate Ausburn

This Australia day, us underdogs will fight Big Coal to save Maules Creek. In the battle that is gripping my community, my fifth generation farming family and I are siding with traditional owners and environmentalists against miners to save the land we love.

Continue reading Big Coal

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Opinion:
Be Afraid, be Very Afraid of balance as provided by the ABC

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Once upon a time I was a rusted on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) watcher. I relied on the ABC, and SBS, for most of my news and current affairs.

Over time as a reaction to the style of gotcha journalism that became the norm on the ABC, radio and TV, I started watching less and less. Today as the result of this quiet reduction in watching and listening to the ABC, I have found that I now routinely do not watch or listen to the ABC.

Continue reading Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Urban Heat

Opinion: Urban Trees and Heat
A case study of neglect and willful blindness?

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There was a routine piece in the Canberra Times about the current heat wave, temperature around and above 40 Degrees Celsius, and backyard trees or in some case about the lack of them. The article pointed to the now well established reality, that during such times those residential properties that lacked shade were suffering higher temperatures.

Continue reading Urban Heat

Urban Trees and Heat

Opinion Editorial: Urban Trees and Heat

A case study of neglect and willful blindness?.

(cross posted from our other blog)

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Continue reading Urban Trees and Heat

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Opinion: Climate in danger from Australia

re-post from the Guardian

rabbott01Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Once upon a time, not that many years ago, Australia was on the world stage as a leading in actions on climate change. It was not that a lot had actually happened. The truth was that a many new initiatives were being proposed.

The aura was that the country was on the move. The Australian Government was open to do business on climate change. Continue reading Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Green Wash

Review: Book

Green Wash, Big Brands and Carbon Scams,
Guy Pearse, Black Inc. 2012

The science is in. Climate change is happening and has been happening since the industrial revolution. People who are concerned about climate change are frustrated by all the denials and misleading information being promulgated.

The sad facts are that the chickens are coming home to roost and still there continues to be a complete lack of action to address the issues.

The general outlook has become more bleak in recent years as our elected governments have stalled in taking the required urgent and realistic actions.

We have no leaders within government.

Continue reading Green Wash

Central Park Sydney

Review: Urban Development

Sydney’s Central Park development, Chippendale, Sydney

view-P1020666photographs by Paul Costigan – click on image for larger

The Central Park development of the old brewery site opposite UTS in Sydney, has attracted much attention in the last couple of years. Most of this was in the form of churnalism, being column space based on using the developer’s media releases. There has also been the expected paragraphs of praise by ‘industry’ experts in profession’s trade magazines.

Continue reading Central Park Sydney

Canberra Urbanity

Climate Change adaptation falters in the suburbs

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Dealing with the complex issues of climate change adaptation should by now have become a priority and part of the everyday for any local government in their oversight of design, planning, development and the re-development of our settlements.

Here in Canberra we have been the subject of a decade or two of pronouncements from newly appointed chief planners on how they are to oversee development that is sustainable and .. lots of other spin that always sounds so sensible!

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Climate Change

“It’s time to stop this madness”
Philippines plea at UN climate talks
click on the image above for the speech whereby the Philippines pleads with the world to get out of their ivory towers and to do something about climate change.
Listening were you Rabbott? Oh that’s right, you had important things to do rather than have Australia properly represented at these climate talks.!

Canberra Urbanity

The next Northbourne Avenue

The basics of a proposal for rethinking this important piece of Green Infrastructure

NrthBourne-P1020067The main road into Canberra from the north has been the topic of much debate following the ACT Government’s announcement that it is build a light rail with the route being from Civic to the newer suburbs of Gungahlin. In the wings sits the developer lobby as this transport initiative would provide the final green light for the major intensification of the commercial and residential buildings along the full length of Northbourne Ave

Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Canberra Urbanity

Anzac Parade: A mixed tale of Trees and Lights

Trees are important in our urban environments. They are part of our urban green infrastructure and perform important roles assisting in health and well-being as well as climate change adaptation.

And they are just beautiful.  I like trees.

Anzac-trees01 Continue reading Canberra Urbanity

Development Dilemmas

Part one – When the Property Council Talks

this will be the first in a long series on this topic – also note that images are sourced from research papers that can be accessed by clicking on the image.

This is a cautionary tale on the dilemma faced by those who embrace the idea that our cities and suburbs are going to change and redevelopment is to happen.

The expectation of the citizenry is that they elect local, state and federal governments and that part of the remit for government is to provide built environments for the present citizens and future generations. The housing and associated amenities thus provided should enhance the residents opportunities to have a good life through being housed in healthy, sustainable and livable urban environments. Continue reading Development Dilemmas