Monthly Archives: March 2012

Other Resources

We want this site to be a place where people now and in the future can learn about sustainability. We are trying to grow this list to eventually have up to 8 other resources on each chapter topic.

If you are an expert in one of these areas, please submit a resource to us, and we’ll add it to this page and promote it loud and clear. Because space is limited and we want the best, please contribute what you think is the best resource on that topic, that one that everyone should read. It can be any media;

  • Book
  • Film
  • Blog post
  • Audio Recording
  • Website
  • Anything we can link to,

Have a look bellow at the current resources to get an idea of what would make a good addition.

You can submit resources by email to, on twitter to @sustaintheplan or on our Facebook page.

The Vision

Creating and Aligning Sustainable Visions

Chippendale’s Challenge: Act Now

The Urban Heat Island



A Native Plant Plan that Respects Indigenous Culture

Green Buildings

Art: Inspire & Explain

Money, Jobs, Business: Easier & Cheaper to Go Green

How Do We Know if the Plan Is Working?

Costs & Benefits

Additional Resources

Why We Must Act Today

Climate change presents a risk to the survival of the human race and other species. Consequently, it is a deadly serious issue.
Justice Peter Biscoe of The NSW Land & Environment Court, Walker v Minister for Planning [2007] NSWLEC 741 at 161

Existing climate pollution is a partial cause of storms, floods, droughts, crop failures, and higher energy, food and water bills. Federal government reforms, such as the proposed carbon tax, only deal with pollution that will be caused in the future. The Climate Institute reports that by 2020, under federal government policy, Australian climate pollution will rise about 10 per cent from 2007 levels.

Each day more pollution from suburbs like Chippendale is added to Earth’s air and waters. Earth’s temperatures are rising faster and faster because of human pollution, most of which is concentrated in cities like Sydney.

Existing and new pollution may cause Earth’s temperatures to rise above 2 degrees Celsius. The United Nation’s over 2000 scientists agree, without one dissenting opinion, that a 2 degree temperature rise will change the Earth’s and Australia’s climate and culture beyond recognition.

Chippendale’s pollution and the damage it does is substantial. Its effect on climate change is potentially serious, and may even be irreversible.

When local councils and developers make decisions and provide services they should act in accordance with the precautionary principle:

lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation … and … the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations
Protection of the Environment (Administration) Act 1991 (NSW), s 6(2)

There is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage from the suburb’s food consumption, the accumulating pollution in Sydney Harbour from the suburb’s stormwater pollution, and the import of water and energy from declining resources several hundred kilometres away.

Not all of the suburb’s pollution may be fully controlled by City of Sydney Council or the Chippendale community. Residents aren’t directly responsible for all the car pollution in the major roads surrounding the suburb. This lack of complete control which Chippendale, and any community, has over the pollution it suffers, heightens the urgent need for the Council and community to reduce the pollution they do cause or can control.

Trees and vegetation in Chippendale improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide pollution from cars. By planting more trees and plants Chippendale will clean up some air pollution and reduce the damage it is causing to the health of residents and workers.

Planting more trees will shade the suburb, lower Chippendale’s summer temperatures, and the trees will live longer and grow more vigorously.

Climate scientists state that Earth’s cities have until 2015 to reduce the amount of climate pollution. If we don’t, we’ve been warned that we risk the loss of our culture and way of life. The latest data suggests climate change is happening faster than predicted, with significant impacts occurring now and increasing in the next 10 years.

To combat this serious threat the actions in the Plan need to be implemented urgently: this year. Business as usual is not an option.

Accordingly, the Plan provides for immediate, affordable trial demonstration projects to be implemented and monitored in the year ending June 2012. While modest, they are practical, achievable beginnings.

By using this plan the citizens of Chippendale will be the change both they and City of Sydney Council wish to see in their suburb, and in other suburbs across the planet.

Help us make it happen.

Food: Grow Food, Health & Community

In Australia, the food supply chain is responsible for approximately 23 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second-highest emissions generating activity after power stations. This includes direct emissions from agriculture, and those attributed to energy, transport, food production, processing and distribution.
New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage,

The Sustainable Streets and Community Plan (Chippendale):

  • encourages locals to purchase food from a world’s best practice commercial urban farm;
  • encourages residents and businesses to buy food from local farmers within 150 kilometres of Sydney from a small farmer’s market in Peace Park or a food box service;
  • provides over 2000 native trees, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and other plants to be planted and maintained by the community in road, vertical and roof gardens over 20 city blocks by June 2012;
  • provides pre-approvals for public composting and road verge gardens using simple checklists;
  • introduces 10 native stingless bee hives to road verge gardens to be installed and maintained by the community;
  • ceases pesticide spraying in road verges; and
  • trials two pre-approved vertical gardens on the footpath.

Food & water diagram

Food water: 43 times more water is used for food than is imported for domestic or office use.

Water content in a typical breakfast:

1 slice of bread = 87 litres

1 medium tomato = 46 litres

250 grams of yoghurt = 400 litres

1 egg = 87 litres

Total = 620 litres

A Commercial Urban Farm

Any commercial urban farm within walking distance of the project area (about 400 metres) will be supported by City of Sydney Council if it offers food with the lowest embodied energy and water, or ‘food miles’, possible to Chippendale, adjoining suburbs and the central business district. The support will be provided if any farm demonstrates world’s best practice:

  • all produce will be certified organic;
  • it will grow over 30,000 kilograms of vegetables or 10,000 kilograms of fish within walking distance of the suburb;
  • water will be harvested from the roof of the farm preventing that water becoming storm water that would pollute Sydney Harbour;
  • energy will be produced on-site from renewable sources;
  • excess water will be sold and used for gardening and irrigation;
  • data will be published daily on the internet showing water use, energy use, surplus water, vehicle movements and food production demonstrating major environmental savings compared with ‘business as usual’ models (for example, a tonne of commercial lettuce will typically contribute to over 2 tonnes of climate pollution, but lettuce from an urban farm within the Council’s area will produce negligible amounts); and
  • the farm will offer produce to the general market allowing those who purchase the food to demonstrate they have reduced their ecological footprint for food consumption by up to 100 per cent.

The City of Sydney Council will:

  • apply its Ethical Food Policy and give priority to purchasing food from any urban farm providing food as described above, including publishing daily data on the internet and maintaining certificates of currency for its organic production;
  • give priority to any development or other application required for the project, and will make a determination in the shortest feasible period and in any case no longer than 60 days after the application was received; and
  • give priority to and coordinate meetings or approvals required by other government agencies.

Rate Rebates for Composting

In Chippendale public compost bin users must register their use of the bin with Council.

After a compost bin user registers they are entitled to an annual rate rebate for the first two years of the initial period of the Plan (July 2011–June 2013) in the amount of 300 dollars a year and for so long as the registrant complies with the conditions below.

To register property owners or their tenants must first:

  • complete a road gardening workshop provided by Council;
  • replace their existing Council issued garbage bin with a bin that is half the size or less; and
  • register on the Council’s website for the project and provide via that website (or, where the registrant has no internet access, then a postal return to the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre) a monthly statement of the amount of organic matter they have contributed to the road garden compost bins, the amount of compost from the bins they have placed on local gardens and to certify that they have maintained at least one road garden compost bin once that month.
This rebate applies as long as the registrant places all their garbage in the smaller bin only and continues to use the Council’s recycling bins for recyclable materials.

The General Manager’s annual report will contain an assessment of the costs and benefits of the rate rebate. It will also make recommendations for future rate rebates beyond the initial two-year trial period.

Council Composting Responsibilities

Council will in the year ending June 2012:

  • install and maintain in Peace Park – with the participation of the residents, workers and businesses – a minimum of 10 compost bins with a minimum storage capacity of 2,900 litres; and
  • provide at least 4 gardening and composting workshops at Pine Street Creative Centre for residents and businesses wishing to register for use of the compost bins.

Funds for Composting, Food & Other Trials

Funds for composting, food and other trials will be drawn partly from existing funds created for such purposes. Money that Council obtains from domestic waste rates in excess of the costs of managing the waste is quarantined to be used for improvements in waste management. The amount of money in this fund increased by 746,000 dollars in the last financial year, which is to be available to support the initiatives in this plan to reduce waste. For City of Sydney’s income from rates and domestic waste see the Council’s annual reports (in the 2009–2010 report pages 104 & 117 are relevant).

New Council & Community Web Site

Council will create a new website to increase trust within the community, and between the community and Council.

  • Council officers will be able to use the website to contact residents and businesses who have planted trees, are responsible for road compost bins, or are receiving a rate rebate or other incentive under this plan. The community members involved in these activities will also be able to contact Council members.
  • Each resident or business wishing to plant a tree or compost on the road must first qualify themselves by taking the workshop courses offered by Council. Upon completion of the course that person or business will be given access to the Council’s website.
  • Photographs, documents and other information will easily be uploaded or downloaded from the website, which will be designed to satisfy the needs of users with slow access to the internet.
  • Access to the Council’s website and training on using it will be provided at the Council workshop. Free advice will be available at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre.
  • Complaints, questions and suggestions about road gardens, composting and vegetation will first be raised between residents and businesses on a one to one basis through the website. It may be used as a source of information and ideas for dealing with other issues that arise in the community.
  • Council will moderate the website.

Pre-approved Composting

Before you can have a garden you need soil. So composting to grow soil is an essential part of this plan.

Any resident or building owner may install a compost bin on the road outside their building provided they first obtain agreement from each occupant of the properties on either side of theirs.

This trial supports achievement of a key performance indicator for the Council’s management of its vehicle fleet which is:

Manage the light and heavy vehicle fleets to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage low emission driving behaviour. By 2014 reduce emissions by 20% across the City’s fleet.

Pre-approved Road Verge Gardens

Any resident or building owner may build road verge gardens if they include the following features:

  • At least one pedestrian crossing across a road verge garden will be provided by road verge gardeners every 30 metres. These will be at least 500 millimetres wide and, where practical, 750–1000 millimetres wide.
  • Leaky drains will only be installed with the consent of the property owner whose property is adjacent to the drain. Leaky drains leak rainwater into the ground using agricultural pipes with holes. They will be similar to the design provided at Council workshops where training in installing the drains will also be provided.
  • Raised garden beds will be similar to the Guidelines in the photograph below, but need not be exactly the same.

Is Road Verge Food Safe?

Verge gardens are to be built and maintained by residents. The first thing people ask about gardening by the side of the road is usually ‘is it safe?’

Phil Mulvey, of Environmental Earth Sciences, advises that road food is safe:

During the 1990s a lot of research was done on lead emission from car exhausts on main roads. It was found that on busy roads lead emissions were limited to 30 centimetres high and within 15 metres of the edge of the road. There was no noticeable impact on less frequently used non arterial residential streets from car exhausts. The removal of lead from fuel in Australia has resulted in lead no longer being a health issue for emissions. Hydrocarbons and benzene degrade rapidly and do not impact plants, in fact they are a growth stimulant at low levels.

Road verges may historically have elevated metal levels and PAHs levels in soil from runoff of zinc roofing and from fill from unknown sources. This applies to all soil in the inner city area. Plants have protection mechanisms to prevent the uptake of lead. Copper and zinc are trace elements and can be taken up but this is beneficial for humans. It is recommended for all root crops grown in home or public gardens that the roots be washed and peeled before consumption. Furthermore as recommended by the Department of Health all food for consumption should be washed prior to consumption. If this simple common procedure is undertaken health impacts from food grown on roadside verges and other simple public land is not expected to cause any health issues.

As some verge gardeners have learned (usually the hard way) it’s important to work closely with Council. When this plan is made Council will:

  • promptly direct its staff and contractors not to spray pesticides on the road verges of Chippendale;
  • promptly issue a direction to its staff and contractors to work in partnership with the residents and businesses of Chippendale to ensure the road verge gardens are supported (the direction will be published on the Council’s website);
  • commence and continue to quantify the costs and benefits of the current arrangements for management of Peace Park, road verges, Victoria Park and this plan for at least the first 3 years of the operation of the Plan; and
  • publish on its website each December the costs and benefits data gathered from the monitoring including the distance travelled to and from the project area by contractors, the energy and water used in the travel, materials used, and operations in the parks in the area.

The residents, businesses and workers of Chippendale who garden in the road are entitled to a rate rebate when they:

  • plan, garden and communicate according to the pre-approved methods and designs in the Plan;
  • provide and maintain at least 2 local points of contact accessible to any person, including a website, phone number and street address for each contact; and
  • attend at least one gardening and compost workshop each year provided by Council.

Cessation of Pesticide Spraying

Council has an Ethical Food Policy which commits it to buying pesticide-free food. To help achieve this Council, upon commencement of this plan, will cease pesticide spraying of road verge and gardens in the whole of Chippendale.

At its workshops Council will provide and demonstrate how to deal with garden pests without insecticides and its contractors will attend those workshops to learn these skills.

Pre-approved Vertical Gardens

Vertical garden

An illustration of a pre-approved vertical garden.

Vertical garden

The two vertical gardens, one for Caf√© Guilia and one for Toby’s Estate Cafe, are pre-approved by this plan for a trial demonstration project in the year ending June 2012.

The Plan will trial and demonstrate vertical gardens so other businesses and property owners may copy them. The trials will show how to:

  • cool main street buildings, making them more comfortable and cutting cooling costs;
  • grow food on the street for any person to harvest;
  • harvest rainwater and make road gardens self-irrigating using devices like flow through planter beds; and
  • serve the needs of those seeking disabled access and all who run a business, talk, contemplate, eat and enjoy the street.

These garden designs include structures external to a building. They will be situated on the road side edge of the footpath with the building walls kept clear.

Any resident or building owner may build other vertical gardens, which are also pre-approved, provided they submit drawings to Council accompanied by a signed statement stating that they meet the requirements below.

  1. The structure and plants do not impede pedestrian and wheelchair access.
  2. The structure is certified by an engineer as safe for the particular installation.
  3. Kerbside drainage is not impeded, the horizontal plane of the gutter is left clear for at least 250 millimetres from the gutter’s vertical edge and the pedestrian level of the cafe surface is the same as the pedestrian surface of the kerb edge.
  4. Productive and decorative plants are both used and the fruits, leaves or foliage are available for harvesting by any person. A sign invites anyone to harvest there.
  5. Rainwater is used to water the plants and, preferably, is applied in a self-irrigating mode without the use of pumps (see, for example, the flow through planter beds design below).
  6. The structure must make use of recycled materials where possible, and be light coloured to reflect sunlight and thereby ensure the lowest possible temperature for the soil.
  7. The following plants will be included: one grapevine able to fruit in the humid Sydney climate, one passionfruit, two rosemary, one citrus, six strawberry and one midgenberry.
  8. Clear visible sight lines must be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists, persons in wheelchairs and other users of the street and footpath.
  9. Generally, the structure will be fixed to the pavement to allow pedestrians and wheelchairs to move freely under or beside it and the building it is fixed or adjacent to.
  10. Successful applicants and the Council will sign an agreement similar to a City of Sydney maintenance agreement (Note: the agreement takes the same form as this pre-approval schedule).
  11. The applicant will remove the structure at the end of the trial period if Council makes a written request explaining their reasons for doing so.
  12. If Council does ask for the structure’s removal it will pay for the removal up to a maximum sum of 3,000 dollars.
  13. To promote the trial of the 2 vertical gardens Council will subsidise the cost up to a maximum of 3,000 dollars for each trial. The subsidy will be payable within 7 days after confirmation that the pre-approved checklist has been complied with in the drawings submitted. The subsidy moneys are repayable if the structure and planting has not been completed within a month of the drawings being returned approved by Council.
  14. Each cafe owner will provide a monthly report of up to five bullet points to Council including complaints, supportive comments received or lessons learnt. This report will be published without amendment on the Council’s website within 7 days of it being submitted to Council.
  15. Each cafe owner will take part in the soil, water and plant testing programme to be conducted for all trial demonstration projects. This includes observing the quality and quantity of edible fruit, leaves and water.
  16. Council will grant approval and endeavour to obtain any approvals which may be required from any other agency or body to enable the gardens to be in place no later than October 2011 (based on original 2011 targets).

The outcomes of these two trial demonstration projects will be reported to Council in February 2012. Recommendations made about expanding the trial or varying it will be made in the year commencing July 2012 (based on original 2011 targets).

Native Stingless Bee Hives

Ten native bee hives will be located in the streets on raised platforms. Three hives will be placed in the one block trial in Myrtle Street (between City Road and Rose Street). Three will be in Peace Park and 4 will be placed in Meagher Street between Abercrombie and Regent streets.

The bee hives are safe for humans as the native bees do not sting.

Besides making honey, bees increase the productivity of the local plants and trees. They also increase the food available for birds and insects, adding to the biodiversity of the area.

The hives need no maintenance; the bees find their own water and food. About every 18 months to 2 years, the community may, if they wish to, split the hives in 2 and donate the new hives to other suburbs. Thus, after 10 years, there may be over 80 natives stingless bee hives in other suburbs. Insects, flowers, trees and other plants will be strongly supported at almost zero cost to anyone. Simple timber box hives can be made by local craftspeople and TAFE Outreach, with which Council has existing working arrangements. By using recycled timber crates and other recycled materials the only costs, if any, are expected to be less than 100 dollars a hive box.

The Sugarbag honey, if harvested, has a wholesale price of over 300 dollars a kilogram. The potential exists for a local social or other enterprise to be created to harvest and sell the honey.

Bee hive maintenance will be carried out by the community. It will be taught as part of the community gardening workshops in Chippendale at least twice a year at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre.

After the first 3 years, with some 30 or more hives in the suburb and adjoining suburbs, the level of biodiversity is expected to rise significantly. Levels will be monitored as part of the development of this plan.

Pre-approved Pop-Up Cafes

Pop up cafe

Any cafe owner may build and operate a pop-up cafe if they submit drawings to Council. These must be accompanied by a signed statement which specifies that they meet the requirements below.

  • If it has a platform and is not on matting, grass or other material placed on the road surface it will be as flush with the sidewalk as possible (a minimum of 3 metres to provide wheelchair access).
  • It will not impede kerbside drainage.
  • It will allow for easy access to the space underneath.
  • It will be load-bearing to at least 340 kilograms per 0.1 of a square metre.
  • It will be publicly accessible, with appropriate signage to indicate this.
  • It will have vertical elements (for example, planters or umbrellas) so that it is visible from vehicles.
  • It will be finished with quality recycled, sustainably produced or harvested products.
  • It will include at least one edible, productive plant.
  • It will include a continuous physical barrier along the street facing perimeter while maintaining clear visual sight lines to the street.
  • It will be open to pedestrians and the public on the sidewalk-facing side.
  • It will not be wider than 2.8 metres.
  • Its maximum length will be no longer than the frontage of the cafe it is outside.
  • It will have chairs and tables that can be moved indoors or locked and stacked outside each night.

Cafe owners or building owners must sign an agreement in the form of the maintenance agreement at: [website to be inserted when created]. This agreement requires that the adjacent property owner, installing body or some other body will generally be responsible for maintaining the pop-up cafe and providing appropriate insurance.

Trial Farmers Markets at Peace Park

In the year ending June 2012 Council will trial a mini-farmers market in Peace Park to be leased or licensed to stall holders on the following basis:

  • a maximum of two stalls in an area not exceeding 20 square metres;
  • to sell only produce brought directly to site from local farms and sold using local or farm workers;
  • to be operated by a person or persons living in Chippendale or within one kilometre, or by a farmer;
  • to operate between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays; and
  • all waste food to be composted in the park or road compost bins.

A sustainable village fosters conversations in the street; an essential ingredient of village life.

Community Garden Workshops & Partnership Days

Council members and the community will garden together. By gardening as a group we will grow goodwill in the Chippendale village community. We will share knowledge, equipment and work together in training workshops.

Partnership Days

Twice a year commencing in 2011 Council will run a partnership day. Council staff can volunteer along with local residents, businesses and workers. This day allows staff from waste, cleaning, parks, planning, sustainability, communications, financial and other departments to meet and garden with volunteers from the community. Together staff and residents can grow to trust and understand each other, and share a wealth of information beyond quantification in any financial budget.

Gardening & Financial Incentives Workshops

At least twice a year Council will provide gardening workshops at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre. The following subjects will be demonstrated in the centre and the streets:

  • road verge composting;
  • design, installation and maintenance of leaky road verge drains;
  • how to register and use the Council website where data will be provided by participating residents and businesses on composting, car, bicycle, energy and water use, and other matters;
  • how to split and maintain native stingless bee hives;
  • how to build and maintain a vertical garden;
  • how to plant and maintain fruit trees, herbs and other plants;
  • how to build, install and maintain a road verge garden;
  • how to maintain the gardens in Peace Park;
  • how to claim and remain qualified for rate rebates and other financial and regulatory incentives; and

  • how to prepare and submit data to the Council’s website about trial demonstration projects, other Plan actions, and complaints and suggestions for improvement in the implementation of the Plan.

Gardening Traineeships: Yaama Dhyan Cooking School

Two part-time gardening traineeships will be provided in the first year (ending June 2012) for Aboriginal youths and offered in partnership with Yaama Dhyan Cooking School. Trainees will learn to garden in the Chippendale road gardens and other gardens.

Working with Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers with appropriate visas can attain skills setting up and maintaining gardens, and working on art projects in Chippendale. Asylum seekers also bring to the project their own sets of skills and life experience. For example, some may come from agricultural backgrounds, and may teach locals about traditional farming methods.


Council will in the year ending June 2012 publish research about the trials in this plan, which will include data from monitoring carried out on the following:

  • impact of road gardens on soil and water quality; and
  • any impacts of the trials on water flows, rising damp and the quantity of water harvested by the trials.

Further data and benchmark information is provided for in the Plan in other chapters.


A sustainable village grows conversation in the street. Talking in public is an essential element of village life. These are streets where the car is a guest and people may enjoy themselves.

The trial demonstration projects that are proposed are:

  • making the street a shared zone with walking speed in the whole suburb;
  • cool streets;
  • pop-up cafes and a pop-up roundabout;
  • self-irrigating pop-up median strips;
  • volunteer weekend lane closures;
  • incentives to encourage people to use car-share services; and
  • engagement of the community with garbage collectors, parking inspectors and rangers through road gardening and maintenance.

The Sustainable Streets and Community Plan aims to create a suburb where pedestrians and cyclists can safely travel.

Without a transport plan the suburb will not be sustainable. Air pollution from vehicles will continue at unhealthy levels, obesity will continue to increase with significant health and cost burdens for residents and businesses, and the village amenity will continue to be eroded. A transport plan can prevent these problems increasing and support City of Sydney Council’s 2030 Vision.

Cycleway diagram
Council cycleways on road
Council cycleways off road
University of Sydney cycleways
Cycleway/road shared zone
Future path subject to future crossing
Cycleway implementation – bike only lane

A trial self-irrigating pop-up median strip is proposed for one city block in Myrtle Street, from City Road to Rose Street. The trial will use a wide range of options and test them for effectiveness, cost and community support. One goal is to see whether it is possible to quickly cool a street and the adjoining buildings by using modular, off-the-shelf materials that are well-known to road engineers and designers. Another goal is to carry out the trial at a very low cost so that, if successful, it may be extended to other roads in the suburb at an affordable cost. Built from easily assembled and disassembled parts, the pop-up median strip offers an affordable option for cooling the city, increasing tree canopy and harvesting storm water.

Preliminary estimates indicate the pop-up median strip may be built in about 3 days. Much of the landscaping may be carried out by the community. The median strip uses readily available crash barriers, which will store water and function as large pot plants to grow native trees and other plants. The plants will be chosen with Aboriginal knowledge and planted by the local community.

Relevant objectives and actions in the 2030 Vision adopted in this Plan include:

Objective 4.3

Promote green travel for major workplaces and venues in the city.

Action 4.3.3

Provide bike parking, showers and change facilities for walkers and cyclists at approved City of Sydney buildings.

City of Sydney Council Sustainable Sydney 2030 : Community Strategic Plan (2011), 2011

Walking, cycling and public transport are priorities in the 2030 Vision. They use less energy, cause less pollution, increase human health and are more affordable than travelling by privately owned car.

This Plan aims to make the car a guest in Chippendale’s streets. The suburb will be transformed into a place where children and adults may from January 2012 (original 2011 target) safely garden, walk and cycle.

The four strategies are to:

  • make walking and cycling in Chippendale more attractive and practical than using a privately owned car;
  • increase the places where people may walk and cycle, and where trees may be planted;
  • reduce the number of cars owned and leased in Chippendale, and therefore lower the demand for parking spaces inside buildings and on roads; and
  • work in partnership with government and agencies to amend road design standards where they prevent the old streets of the suburb ‚Äì built before the car was invented ‚Äì being used to achieve a safe and healthy village.

Walking Zone

The Plan creates a walking zone with a maximum vehicle speed limit of 15 kilometres per hour for all the roads within the project area, and a 5 kilometre per hour zone for laneways which have no footpath and where the pedestrian has right of way over the cyclist and car.

Car Parking

Three small car parking spaces are to be marked in each block in Myrtle and Meagher Streets, from City Road to Regent Street. This will create an additional 12 car parking spaces.

As this is a new concept, successful trialling will require rangers to prevent over-sized vehicles from using the spaces.

Incentives to Reduce Car Ownership

This plan has incentives to encourage residents and businesses to give up their cars, to walk and to cycle.

  • Any person or business surrendering a car parking permit will be given a free 2 year car share membership top the value of 6,000 dollars per permit.
  • Any household that surrenders 2 car parking permits, or a business that surrenders a car parking lease in a building for one car space, will be given a 2 year car share membership to the value of 10,000 dollars.
  • Any household that surrenders one of 2 car parking permits (one of which need not be in use) will be given a free visitors’ pass entitling visitors to park for a maximum of 12 hours (2 parking infringements will void this entitlement).
  • Any person in a residential block of units, or commercial building, who leases their car space to a car share scheme will be given a free car share membership for a car located in Chippendale and paid for by Council up to 2015, when this incentive will be reviewed.
  • Any business that takes a car share membership from July 2011 to June 2012 will be given a free visitors’ pass entitling a visitor to the business to park for a maximum of 2 hours in the streets of Chippendale (2 parking infringements forfeit this pass).
  • Any business that provides a free clean towel service for employees who cycle to and from work may claim a rate rebate of 500 dollars a year. Where the business is a tenant, the property owner may claim on behalf of the tenant who provides the service, only if the owner passes on the rate rebate to the tenant by reducing the rent by 500 dollars a year.

The aims of these incentives are to:

  • increase the level of car share use from its present levels by over 20 per cent by 2015 (for both residents and businesses);
  • reduce per capita car ownership;
  • build on successful trials of similar initiatives elsewhere; and
  • collect data on outcomes.

Limited Offer

Transport incentives are limited to a trial period of 2 years or the expenditure of 90,000 dollars of Council funds, whichever occurs first.

The trial’s purpose is to investigate options for achieving the goals of the 2030 Vision and this Plan. Data about take-up and effectiveness will be reviewed and reported to Council in March 2012 and March 2013 (original 2011 targets). Recommendations will then be made about the utility and value of the trial.

Funding for trial incentives will be sourced from car parking infringements within the project area (income from which presently grosses over 30,000 dollars a month) and, if necessary, from general revenue.

Conditions of Eligibility

To be eligible for a car share rebate or a visitors’ permit, residents or businesses will need:

  • proof of residency or employment in the Chippendale project area;
  • proof of membership of one or more car share service providers in the area; and
  • agreement to provide full details of actual car share use, including use of any car space within a residential units car park, which Council will publish while keeping the identities of participants confidential.

An application form is available from Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, any Council office or on (The City of Sydney Council’s website).

Trial Car Share Promotion

Two or more events — to be held by Council before March 2012 (original 2011 target) — will promote car share and bicycle use. The Plan intends that each of these events will attract at least 50 new car share memberships by residents and at least 10 by local businesses. Council will invite all car share service providers in Australia to participate and provide free trial membership enrolments on the day so people can learn by doing.

Shared Zone

The Plan, from December 2011 (original 2011 target), creates a trial shared zone for streets and lanes in the whole project area, bounded by Broadway, City Road, Cleveland and Abercrombie Streets, using least cost design and maintenance options.

Within this area roads will be shared by cars, bicycles and pedestrians. All vehicles will be limited to walking speed, with a maximum speed of 15 kilometres per hour for cars and trucks. Cars must give way to pedestrians.

Trial Voluntary Weekend Lane Closures

The Plan trials weekend lane closures in some streets of Chippendale. On weekends during the year ending June 2012, the lanes shown on The Plan (above) may be closed to all vehicles, except residents and businesses whose properties adjoin the closure.

Any business or resident whose property adjoins the lane closure, and displaying a resident parking or access sticker issued by Council, may drive their car during the closure if access is essential for an emergency, health reasons or due to urgent business that can only be done during the lane closure.

The closures for participating lanes commence at 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and cease at 9:00 a.m. on Mondays, by which times the temporary closure devices (witches hats and barriers) must be installed and removed. Witches hats, temporary road barriers and other equipment will be stored at the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre and managed by 2 representatives of the lane who volunteer to close the lane.

Residents and businesses can initiate lane closures for lanes adjoining their properties if over 50 per cent of property owners on the lane agree. Four weeks prior to the proposed closure date, a letter must be submitted to Council which includes the following:

  1. nomination of at least 2 property owners to be the contact point and responsible for the closing and opening of the lane;
  2. signatures of at least 6 property owners confirming they have attended a road closure workshop provided free of charge by Council (which will provide instruction in how to close and open a lane, how to place, remove and store witches hats and temporary road barriers, and how to circulate letters of information about the closure);
  3. agreement to carry out the lane closure after Council has published the proposed land closure and obtained a response;
  4. agreement to provide a report on Council’s website on the impacts of the closure upon access to the properties affected within one week of the closure being carried out; and
  5. a plan showing the area to be closed and the location of the witches hats and temporary road barriers.

Council will undertake to publish such notice within 14 days of receiving the letter from the residents and businesses.

An emergency passage of at least 2.5 metres width shall be maintained for the whole of the length of any lane closure.

This plan implements weekend lane closures in the first year and further weekend closures subject to review of the trial.

Myrtle Street Stage One Framework Plan

Myrtle Street stage one framework plan
A diagram illustrating stage one of the plan for Myrtle Street in Chippendale.

Trial Pop-Up Median Strips and Roundabouts

A pop-up median strip will be trialled in Stage One (by June 2012) as shown in the drawings at the beginning of this chapter. In Stage Two (July 2012 to June 2013) trial pop-up median strips may become permanent, and other pop-up median strips may be trialled in the suburb.

A pop-up roundabout will be trialled in Stage One at the intersection of Shepherd and Daniels Streets as shown in the drawing below.

Street Cleaners, Parking Inspectors, Rangers and the Community

Changes in the Plan to roads and Peace Park require us to re-visit the roles, powers and duties of citizens and Council.

Parking inspectors, street cleaners and rangers work in the city’s streets. Thus, the streets are the front office of Council and these workers are key ambassadors: the eyes, ears and face of Council. These workers have the potential to significantly support this plan. If the Plan is to be successful it is essential to review these roles by consultation. Goals of the process include:

  • increase levels of engagement, understanding and cooperation between the community and garbage collectors, parking inspectors, street cleaners, rangers and any contractors working in the streets and parks;
  • prevent theft of and damage to fruit trees and road verge gardens;
  • promote harvesting of road verge produce by garbage collectors, parking inspectors, street cleaners and rangers;
  • achieve joint planting days in road gardens;
  • recycle leaves and fallen branches in local road compost and mulch bins;
  • see published results of Council imposing fines for parking in car-share parking places and small car parking spaces; and
  • have a mechanism whereby the General Manager collects data on outcomes for these goals and publishes them in the General Manager‚Äôs annual report about the Plan (this annual report is due to Council commencing February 2012 and annually thereafter).

Pollution Levy

The following initiatives will be explored with the state government and solutions implemented in year two of The Plan.

Car registration fees to pay for car pollution of water and land

Car owners will pay for vehicle pollution via a 5 dollar fee for vehicles registered in Chippendale. This will be matched by proportional state funding for bus pollution from state transport agencies.

Commencing October 2011 (original 2011 target) the registration fees so raised and the proportion of the state’s contribution will be paid quarterly to Council for the purposes of this Plan. An exception is allowed where the state first publishes an account showing those monies, or a portion of them, that are not given to Council have been spent on projects related to this Plan by a state government agency or corporation.

This system obtains money to pay for projects in this Plan that are partly required to redress pollution from privately and publicly owned vehicles in Chippendale, including Council and Council contractor vehicles.

The General Manager will report progress to Council and where there is no progress will provide reasons and suggest solutions.

Getting Around

Under the Plan the Chippendale area – bounded by Broadway, Abercrombie Street, Cleveland Street and City Road – will include:

  • voluntary lane closures;
  • a shared zone for pedestrians, cyclists and cars;
  • cool streets in summer due to pale roads, more tree cover and pale roofs;
  • trial bicycle lanes and routes; and
  • car spaces reserved for small cars.
Getting around
  1. Pop-up median strip
  2. Pop-up roundabout
  3. Pale road surface
    stretching from City Rd along Myrtle St to Abercrombie St, and then on from Abercrombie St along Meagher St to Regent St

Voluntary lane closures are marked in red.


  • Pop-up cafes that are 7 metres long and 1.5 metres wide: Levey Street and Abercrombie Street, and as part of the pop-up median strip trial in Myrtle Street from City Road to Rose Street.
  • Shared zone: all roads in the whole of the area to which the Plan applies will have a maximum speed limit of 15 kilometres per hour and cars give way to pedestrians.
  • Volunteer weekend lane closures: when residents and businesses wish to they may close a lane with no footpath but allow local cars and deliveries through.
  • Lanes will have a 5 kilometre per hour speed limit.

Pop-Up Roundabout

Pop up roundabout
An illustration of a pop up roundabout.

Sydney Water and Council to Trial Water Saving Options for Roads & Buildings

Council will offer to partner with Sydney Water and the businesses and residents of Chippendale to trial demonstration projects in the year ending June 2012. The aim is to cool the suburb in summer by increasing vegetation and tree canopy cover, improve air quality, and reduce water use. A range of projects are proposed as part of the Plan. The whole of government and other agencies approach to the project includes goals to:

  • reduce water and energy use, and water and energy bills; and

  • cool Sydney‚Äôs suburbs and thereby improve health of communities.

Water harvest

An illustration of a self-irrigating pop-up median strip and road verge.

Strategic Value to Sydney Water and Sydney’ Resources

The projects with Sydney Water will mean less demand for water for irrigation, less evaporation and pollution of reservoir and channel waters. Sydney Water will undertake the following projects.

  • Fund and support a trial of a storm water grate bypass for use in the one block trial of a sustainable road. The grate will be capable of fitting on grates in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Wollongong. It will direct rainwater from the one in 2 year events (low flows) past the storm water pit to be used in making the road verges self-irrigating. The cost estimate for the design, trial and monitoring is 10,000 dollars.
  • End storm water charges in the project area for any property installing, or which has installed, a tank to store in excess of 21,000 litres of rainwater. As long as that water is entirely for internal use.
  • Promptly facilitate the disconnection from mains water or sewer of any residential or commercial property which volunteers to disconnect. Upon disconnection, end fixed charges for those services.
  • Supply water meters free of charge to any residential unit which volunteers to install the meter and commence paying water usage charges to Sydney Water.
  • Publish data on water, energy and financial savings achieved from these trial projects.

Cool Streets

This plan creates a cool road in Myrtle Street from City Road to Abercrombie Street, and in Meagher Street from Abercrombie to Regent Street. Those two streets will be resurfaced as pale roads. Data will be published in the General Manager’s report to Council in February 2012 (original 2011 target) about the impact of the works on temperatures, tree canopy, air conditioning use and comfort levels in adjoining properties.

Trial Pop-Up Cafes

This plan creates pop-up cafes to be trialled in at least 2 locations (Myrtle Street between City Road and Rose Street, and in Levey Street at the intersection with Abercrombie Street). For further details see the food chapter of this Plan.

Least Cost Design, Construction and Maintenance

All construction drawings and specifications for road and other trial projects will demonstrate least cost for all aspects of the project. Peer and community review will be conducted during the design process. Community participation in design workshops is essential to achieve least cost projects and community engagement.

For example, we estimate that over 2 million litres of rainwater can be kept where it falls on the Single Block Trial Demonstration Project at a capital cost of less than 300 dollars. This will pay for the purchasing and installation of agricultural pipe. Community gardeners will volunteer to install and maintain the pipes. The pipes will enable road verges to be self-irrigating and meet the needs of plants.

Each drawing submitted to Council for approval for a trial project in The Plan will include the following statement on the title block.

This drawing includes or is supported by other documents with:
  • specifications for use of local, community provided or recycled materials such as local compost, bricks, tar, concrete, timber or other materials;
  • specifications for the use of community labour for the installation, construction and maintenance of vegetation, street furniture, compost bins or other items;
  • specifications for all materials used during construction, including food and beverages consumed by the community and contractors (if any) to be recycled;
  • an estimate of maintenance costs and responsibilities by the community and/or Council;
  • a certificate submitted with any invoice relating to all drawings and documents which includes this statement: ‘The works, services and materials that are the subject of this invoice were provided to ensure least cost construction and maintenance, including specific provision for community delivery of maintenance services, and were peer reviewed by the community and any nominated third party prior to the submission of this invoice.’

Demonstration Project Timelines

This timeline is based on the original 2011 target start date for The Plan. It will have to be updated for implementation.


  • Voluntary trial weekend lane closures for volunteering locals.

December 2011

  • Trial shared zone for entire project area.

Stage One Construction by January 2012

  • Cool one city block using full range of options for growing food, self-irrigating pop-up median strip and verges, low cost rain gardens, over 40 per cent tree canopy cover and other techniques.
  • Cool over 12 city blocks using pale road surface.

Stage Two Construction by January 2013

  • Design to be developed from the outcomes and monitoring of Stage One works.


The total cost of the trials in this transport plan is estimated at 390,000 dollars. Those monies will firstly be drawn from car parking fines relating to the area in the Plan. Such fines produce an income exceeding approximately 360,000 dollars a year.


The benefits will be quantified within the annual report to Council by the General Manager. They are expected to include the following for Myrtle Street between City Road and Abercrombie Street, and Meagher Street between Abercrombie and Regent Street:

  • an about 2 degree Celsius temperature drop in summer days exceeding 30 degrees Celsius;
  • a saving of about 5–10 per cent in air conditioning bills in residential and commercial properties adjoining the cool road, or an estimated saving in bills totalling 10,000–20,000 dollars in the first year;
  • a reduction in Myrtle and Meagher Streets in vehicle-made air pollution (including particulates) by 2–5 per cent;
  • the prevention of over 4 million litres of stormwater polluting Blackwattle Bay;
  • a saving of at least 5,000 dollars for participants from avoided car ownership costs due to increased use of car share, walking and bicycling instead of private car use;
  • for those growing food, buying through local farmer box schemes or buying from the markets in Peace Park a saving in food bills of over 500 dollars a year (in avoided transport, food wastage, garbage and related costs);
  • quieter streets with more conversations; and
  • growing understanding across all ages and nationalities of residents, businesses and workers of the 2030 Vision and the need for it to succeed.

In the report the General Manager will provide an estimate of the value of these savings if they were applied across the Council area.

Ask not what your council can do for you.
Ask what you can do for your neighbours, house, building, street or council.

The Urban Heat Island

We are now paying dearly for this extra heat. One sixth of the electricity consumed in the United States goes to cool buildings, at an annual power cost of 40 billion dollars. Moreover, a 5 degrees Fahrenheit heat island greatly raises the rate at which pollutants — nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emanating from cars and smokestacks — ‘cook’ into ozone %hellip; The Los Angeles heat island raises ozone levels 10–15 per cent and contributes to millions of dollars in medical expenses.
AH Rosenfeld, JJ Romm, H Akbari & AC Lloyd, Painting the town white — and green [PDF], MIT Technology Review, February/March 1997

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect occurs when an urban area is warmer than surrounding areas. This typically happens in city suburbs and towns as the land surface is modified with materials that retain heat, such as dark roads and roofs. Lack of trees and greenbelts contribute to the problem, as does waste heat created by energy use. Mitigation strategies include planting more trees to create canopies, greening roofs, and using pale surfaces on roads and paths. In this chapter we look at studies from around the world.

Dark Roads

Black roads and roofs in addition to a lack of trees cause soaring summer temperatures in Chippendale. By creating pale roads and roofs, and growing tree canopies over half the roads we could reduce the summer heat in the suburb by 6–8 degrees Celsius!

Chippendale thermal imagery: Chippendale is 6 – 8 degrees hotter in summer than it should be
Less than 27 degrees celcius
27 – 29 degrees celcius
29 – 31 degrees celcius
31 – 33 degrees celcius
More than 33 degrees celcius

This map shows the temperatures of the suburb’s roads between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on 6 February 2009. The roads — which constitute over 23 percent of the suburb’s land area — were over 34 degrees Celsius. The houses, private land and parks were around 29 degrees Celsius. The roads act like night-time radiators by surrounding the suburb with hot air and making the buildings hotter at night. As a result the roads are still hot when the sun rises and the next day is hotter than need be, both inside houses and on the streets.

The heat dries out the trees and soil, which stunts tree and vegetation growth. To stay cool residents and businesses turn on air conditioners. Thus, the suburb’s roads are driving up electricity costs for everyone and increasing the pollution from the coal-fired power stations that provide the electricity. Think of all the electricity we’d save, and how much less pollution in the atmosphere, simply by creating pale reflective roads and increasing tree canopy cover.

The hottest roads on the map run east–west. They have the largest amount of black road surface exposed to the sun and are the least protected by buildings and trees.

The north-south roads are partly protected from the western summer sun by the buildings and have larger tree canopies (some of the trees grow larger than others in the east-west streets).

The effect of the roads, no matter the direction they face, is to increase the temperature of the whole suburb. This burdens the suburb, and all that lives within it, with an invisible island of hot, damaging air.

No law, design guidelines or goals have been put in place to make these hot roads cool. Until now. This plan offers affordable, easily constructed and maintained solutions to the Heat Island Effect in Chippendale.

And we can learn from suburbs and cities which have implemented changes to great effect. Let’s look at some success stories.

Plants Cool Suburbs

The suburb of Village Homes in the city of Davis, California is 6 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the adjoining suburbs in summer. This is because the village contains 23 acres of greenbelts, orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens and edible landscapes. The resulting tree canopies regulate temperature. Since 1978 the village has grown over 24% of its food in the streets and gardens. For more information see their Village Home Owners Association website.

One study analysed the costs and benefits of increasing numbers of street trees. By doubling the number of street trees they believe the city’s temperature can be reduced by 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit (.7 degrees Celsius). Planting the street trees would cost an estimated 625 million dollars and, with annual savings of 98.4 million dollars, it would pay off in just over six years. (See Kerr and Yao, quoted in Rosenthal, Crauderueff and Carter, 2008 [PDF])

Restoring Rivers

In 1998 the South Korean city of Seoul removed a 12-lane freeway in the city centre and opened up a built over river. The reinstatement of the river led to an average reduction in summer temperatures of 3 degrees Celsius. Property values rose dramatically, and the river and its banks became a magnet for pedestrians, tourists, businesses and biodiversity. Traffic was reduced as well as travel times. The city integrated a broad range of travel solutions. For example: varying opening and closing hours of businesses and improving public transport options.

Healthier Suburbs & More Jobs: Greening the Ghetto

The Sustainable South Bronx project in New York is working to reduce the Urban Heat Island effect partly by greening the roads and creating parks. Their research confirms the damage done to human health by the combination of heat, road traffic, and lack of vegetation to clean and cool the air. Analysis of the impact of air pollution from vehicles suggests that potent environmental pollutants “at levels recently encountered in New York City air may adversely affect children’s cognitive development … with implications for school performance”(FP Perera, et al. Effect of Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years of Life among Inner-City Children [PDF], Environmental Health Perspectives, 2006). With 1 in 4 children suffering asthma, greening one of the most polluted parts of New York was seen as a necessity.

South Bronx had the highest unemployment rate in the city, at 24 per cent, so Sustainable South Bronx set about training people and creating green jobs. “Greening our neighbourhood increases the focus on green jobs and brings more parks and green industry to the South Bronx,” says Miquela Craytor, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx See their video playlist.

Green Roofs

More than half of the sunlight reaching the earth is invisible to the human eye, and this invisible sunlight heats the roof. A colored surface that reflects much of the invisible sunlight is a called a cool dark color, or cool color. A cool dark color reflects more sunlight than a similar-looking conventional dark color, but less than a light-colored surface. For example, a conventional dark colored surface might reflect 20% per cent of incoming sunlight, a cool dark colored surface, 40 per cent; and a light-colored surface, 80 per cent.
US Department of Energy, Guidelines for selecting cool roofs, page–6

A study in urban heat mitigation using green roofing shows that savings can be substantial. One study estimated that cool roofs could reduce New York City’s heat island by 1 degree Fahrenheit (.6 degrees Celsius). They estimated savings of 105 million dollars per year — 23 million dollars in direct energy savings and 82 million dollars in indirect savings — if cool roofs were constructed on every roof in New York City (calculated at an average additional cost of 68 cents per square foot, compared to traditional roofing techniques). Under certain assumptions the cool roof payback period was about six years. See Kerr and Yao, quoted in Rosenthal, Crauderueff and Carter, 2008 [PDF].

Benefits of Mitigation

If we plant trees and change the colour of our roads and roofs from black to pale colours we will create multiple benefits. We will cut electricity bills and save money, increase bird and insect life, increase plant growth and significantly reduce our environmental footprint from less pollution.

Mitigation of the Urban Heat Island effect is a major part of the Chippendale Plan, and will be demonstrated throughout. But it is only one side of one story. Next, we’ll look at the comprehensive plan for our streets.

The Vision

In 2010, urban geographers at Griffith University published a book called Lifeboat Cities. Its clear message was that Australian suburbs are at the forefront of climate change impact. They must adapt to a hotter, more varied climate. Residents and businesses need to become more self-reliant for food, water and energy.

We must heed this book’s message, and create a plan to urgently retrofit Australian suburbs to better survive the increasing environmental and economic storms. But this plan doesn’t stop there. It envisions a suburb that is not only surviving, but prosperous. It embraces change as a unique and compelling opportunity.

The Sustainable Communities Plan provides ways for businesses to become self-reliant in six interconnected areas of village life:

  • food;
  • trees and other plants;
  • art;
  • getting around;
  • energy, water and waste; and
  • business and residential life.

When we sleep, eat, cook, work, talk, and go about our daily lives we use the buildings, streets, food, water, air and resources around us. If those resources are dirty, dangerous, unhealthy, too hot, too expensive or run out, then our lives become harder, less enjoyable and less sustainable. If the Sydney suburb of Chippendale continues on its current path, what is described here will be the likely outcome. Chippendale is being propelled away from – rather than towards – a healthy, sustainable village.

The Plan sees and strengthens connections. The stronger the connections, the more robust the village life of Chippendale will be. The Plan:

  • will be driven by residents, workers, businesses and Aboriginal people;
  • sets tangible goals and incentives for reducing the use and cost of energy, water, stormwater, food and transport for residents, businesses, City of Sydney Council and other government agencies or corporations;
  • will map, monitor and report on processes and results;
  • will publicise results to a wide audience, through conventional and social media;
  • has tangible, practical goals which can be achieved by 2020; and
  • applies to public and private land.

The Plan is simple: to change the hardware of Chippendale’s streets, buildings and greenscapes.

A fundamental key to the Plan – embedded in its development – is to harness the enormous resources of its citizens. So our first step is to build and nurture strong community networks and resources, tapping into the talents and motivations of Chippendale citizens. In recent severe natural and climactic weather events strong community networks proved to be the most successful defence. These work best during good times.

The Plan will create powerful community bonding experiences that will drive the outcomes, and provide a glue for the community to embrace the dynamic evolution of the Plan as it embarks on a life of its own.

With community and Council working hand in hand, the Plan will redesign and recreate the concept of what it means to live in an inner city area. It will raise values of property and make Chippendale a highly sought after community to live in and copy.

Once Council invests its resources in seeding the fundamental drivers, the Plan gathers its own momentum. Gradually Council costs will reduce, and keep falling as the sustainable snowball gathers pace.

The economic drivers will accrue not just to the suburb’s community, but to Council itself.

Sustainable houses, buildings and streets are cheaper and healthier places to live, work and walk. They support stronger communities. They use mainly the water and energy that falls naturally in the suburb. They avoid importing water or energy, or exporting sewage. They use water and energy in ways that mimic the natural ecosystem, or are similar to the way water and energy was used before the land was changed to a suburb. Water and energy bills are generally stable, low and affordable. The food is mostly grown where people live and work or is from local sources, less than an hour by vehicle.

Sydney’s Sustainable House – in Chippendale – is one example and will continue to be available as a model of early achievement. The house uses off-the-shelf systems, installed by local tradespeople and can be lived in by anyone without special skills or training. Up to 4 people may live in that house and be almost fully sustainable for water and energy. This plan offers regulatory and financial incentives, information and education to assist more such houses, buildings and businesses to be created in Chippendale.

About 23 per cent of the land in the Chippendale project area is roads and footpaths. This plan seeks to empower Council, the community and agencies to use that land so that food, water, energy and transport there is safer, healthier, more affordable, more local and is sustainable.

Council has built rain gardens in roads across the city to harvest, store and clean rainwater to grow plants to cool the city. Rain gardens and other road and building works are proposed to harvest and retain water to cool the project area and, in turn, to make buildings and streets cooler in summer as well as reducing the use of energy to cool buildings. With cooler streets the vegetation will grow more quickly and to its natural capacity. Cooler streets are healthier places to walk in, so naturally more people will want to use them.

Most of the technologies, materials, designs, products, services, businesses and choices needed to achieve the objectives are readily available, proven and demonstrated.

There is nothing radical about this plan. It draws on sustainable village living that has been practised for centuries. It is now being recreated in communities around the world from New York to Cuba, Scandinavia to California.

Sweden, for instance, decided a decade ago to move towards sustainable communities. Now 70 of the 290 municipalities in Sweden have embarked on the The Natural Step program. The town of Malmö is a leading example of this.

The Sustainable Communities Plan adapts and builds on existing concepts to suit Australian conditions. It has the potential to influence the fundamental drivers and structures of suburbs in every local government area in Australia.

An arial view of Chippendale

Chippendale, Sydney
via Google Maps in satellite view.

Chippendale arial view

Chippendale, Sydney via Open Street Maps.

  • The area covered by The Plan is 186,240 square metres or about 18.6 hectares. 223.5 million litres of rainwater may potentially be harvested per year in that area.
  • Roads take up 42,665 square metres or about 4.2 hectares, which is 23 per cent of the project area. 51.2 million litres of rainwater may be harvested from the roads area per year.
Numbers listed are estimates, more accurate numbers may be obtained with a complete site survey.

How does the Plan Work?

This plan is to stage trial demonstration works, gather data and develop permanent projects from trial projects over a 10 year period to the year 2020. Annual reviews of community feedback, data and projects will assist the implementation of projects from year to year.

The Plan:

  • empowers residents, businesses and workers to use energy, water, food, transport and resources sustainably at home and at work;
  • trials a broad range of incentives, trial demonstration projects and innovative council processes, some of which have been proven elsewhere;
  • combines these initiatives in the one place and in the one plan;
  • invites Council and the community to work in an equal partnership and to grow practical wisdom for achieving a sustainable and resilient community;
  • will bring to life for the community the targets in the 2030 Vision; and
  • is intended to be simple, affordable and easy to use by all.