Category Archives: Urban planning

Why we need to get kids into nature (quotable quotes from Richard Louv)

In his book ‘Last Child in the Woods’, Richard Louv coined the term ‘nature deficit disorder’ to highlight the growing disconnection between kids and nature. In his follow up book ‘The Nature Principle’ he says “the more high tech we become, the more nature we need.”

We interviewed Richard Louv as part of our series on environmental leaders. In researching his story, we found lots of great quotes from Richard – which articulate why we need to get kids into nature.

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Bicycles v cars: Adam Spencer on city commuting

Adam Spencer cycling advocate and ABC presenter

You may know Adam Spencer as a presenter of ABC Radio in Sydney and from ABC TV. But did you know he cycles everywhere and hardly ever drives?

In the lead up to ‘Ride to Work Day’, Adam goes into bat for the bike. In fact, in this interview he says what he really thinks of the constant hoo-haa about building more roads and tunnels in our cities. And doing the traffic report when you don’t drive a car.

Audio: Listen to our interview with Adam Spencer on why the bike is better.

Video: Adam Spencer also has a gentle word about the price of petrol.

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Sydney City Farm struggles to plant its roots

Will Sydney get its own urban farm? In the first of our series on city farms, we look at the proposal to put an organic farm at Callan Park in the city’s inner west.

The proposal draws ideas from successful farms that have ready been established in places like Melbourne and London. And the site is a beautiful location right on the harbour and in the grounds of the now abandoned mental hospital.

It all sounds good, apart from the fact that the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have not included the farm in their plans for the whole site and a final decision is going to be made on its future use soon.

Audio podcast
In this interview I speak with Rod Simpson and Andrew Jackson from Sydney City Farm. Andrew is the head of this non-profit organisation and Rod is the architect and designer behind the plan. You can listen here to the Sydney City Farm interview. It starts with Rod Simpson.

How to support the Sydney City Farm
If you think the farm is a good idea, there’s a couple of things you can do. Join the mailing list at www.sydneycityfarm.org and write to the New South Wales Planning Minister and to the Vice Chancellor of Sydney Uni to ask them to include the farm in their plans.

More info on Sydney City Farm
More on the farm in this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Do your own thing
If you want to join or start a community garden where you live, check out the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network.

Garnaut lashes out at climate change sceptics (in his own gentile way)

The good professor has a message for the sceptics who still don’t believe in climate change and the scaremongers who would have us believe the sky will fall in if we re-gear our economy to lower our carbon emissions. Listen to the podcast interview with Ross Garnaut on climate change.

The new carbon emissions trading scheme: will it be choked by competing ambitions?

A carbon emissions trading scheme is coming soon. In 18 months in fact. But what will it look like?

It seems the two majors parties are heading for a showdown on the shape of it. And thrown into the mix is a newly configured senate. A strange assortment of new powerbrokers – The Greens, Family First and Mr X – may well determine the new scheme’s fate.

This segment came out of our regular review of key environment news. Each week we speak to one of the country’s leading environmental journalists to find out what’s happening. This week, we talk to Ben Cubby, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Chief Environment Reporter. Listen to The Environment Show’s interview on the latest carbon trading scheme news.

The car lobby lobs back – on peak oil and the Fuelwatch ad

The car lobby is given the right of reply in this podcast. I speak with Alan Evans, President of the NRMA, Australia’s largest motoring body. He says the GetUp organisation need to get real. To build public transport to all parts of Sydney and into the country is simply not going to happen. That people are always going to have a need for mobility. And since most of the growth of the traffic in our cities is commercial operators, do we really want to see refrigerators being wheeled onto a train instead? Listen to the interview with Alan Evans from the NRMA – on cars, public transport, fuel price increases and peak oil.

FuelWatch ad: the future is f***ing expensive

This commercial takes the p**s out of the government’s FuelWatch scheme. Made by GetUp to make the point that we need long term planning for a sustainable transport system.

Watch the FuelWatch commercial.

Jan Gehl – the urban planning rock star (part 2)

Cities like Sydney and New York can shake their car culture and get people to walk and ride bikes. It can be done. It’s happened in Copenhagen. It’s even part of the Danish national health policy. Jan Gehl tells us all about it.

He also tells us about the transformation of the Melbourne CBD (thanks to his plans.)

More common sense and dry Scandinavian humour from the urban planning rock star.

The ‘urban planning rock star’ changing city environments around the world

Wall to wall vehicles. Thats how Jan Gehl describes Sydney’s CBD. He says Sydney has squandered its beauty and it’s time something was done about it.

Professor Gehl was commissioned by the City of Sydney to re-think its centre. He’s proposed to divert cars and give streets back to the people. Sound radical? His plans have been implemented in other cities like Copenhagen and Melbourne, and surprise, they’ve made life heaps better. And, interestingly, not just for people. Businesses have thrived too.

Check this interview out – Jan’s quite a character. No wonder he’s been called an ‘urban planning rock star’.

His next commission, by the way, is to develop a plan for New York City.

Do we need desalination when rain goes down the drain?

Is desalination the answer to the water shortages in Australian cities when we waste so much water? Or do we need the desal “insurance policy” for our water supply as the politicans say?

I spoke with Kate Noble, sustainable cities campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, to find out. Listen to the desalination interview with Kate Noble.

Many state governments in Australia are well on the way to building desalination plants. The New South Wales and Victorian governments are forging ahead and the Western Australian government already has its plant in operation.