Whether we like it or not, human-induced climate change is a reality. Over 2000 United Nations scientists unanimously agree that urgent worldwide action is needed to reduce the damage we’ve done. And it must happen by 2015. With more people living in cities around the world than ever before, reducing the environmental impact of these spaces is crucial.

The Sustainable Communities Plan was created by author, lawyer and sustainability coach Michael Mobbs in 2011 for his local community in Chippendale, Sydney, Australia. The Plan outlines ways to transform this busy neighbourhood into a cleaner, cheaper and healthier place to live. From the beginning, The Plan was also meant to position Chippendale as a sustainability leader, that would share it’s knowledge and experiences through The Plan for communities around the world to drawn on.

The Plan was originally written as a policy guide for Sydney City Council, so that Chippendale could be a testing ground for green policies throughout the city. Unfortunately The Council are yet to make this investment in a sustainable future. Help show them how much support there is for a real-life sustainable suburb by signing our statement to Sydney Mayor Clover Moore. Councils around Australia and the world are interested in what The Plan can offer and Clover Moore is a fan of sustainability, she just needs this small sign to see that funding The Plan now is a positive investment towards sustainable communities around the world.

In 2012 this website was set up to give The Plan a more permanent and open home. We recognised that the designs, case-studies and plain old practical tips in The Plan could be used as a starting point for sustainable visions in other places. The content you’ll find here in The Plan is available for use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Take the projects outlined in The Plan and start transforming your community. Localise the designs, improve them and share your experiences. While The Plan is ready for Chippendale, this website is a work in progress, and we are always looking for feedback. We see this project as contributing to a global community, trying to share their knowledge of sustainability to give our planet a safe and healthy future. Share your feedback, your stories and resources and together we can enable people everywhere to make substantial steps towards greener cities.

The Plan is to:

  • cut household and business bills for participants by over 3 million dollars by 2015;
  • reduce Council operating and capital costs for Chippendale by 5 per cent by 2012;
  • ensure Chippendale is at the forefront of goals to meet the objectives and targets of Sydney City Council’s 2030 Vision;
  • trial demonstration projects for houses, units, buildings and roads;
  • trial vertical gardens and pop-up median strip gardens maximising space available for planting;
  • lower energy, water, transport, food and health bills and demonstrate affordable solutions which may be adapted throughout the City of Sydney and elsewhere;
  • trial pop-up cafes to attract business to the area and create a flexible approach to grow the birth rate and life of businesses;
  • cut air pollution by 2015;
  • cool roads, reducing the damage caused to human health and vegetation from car pollution and dangerously hot roads by 2015;
  • cool the suburb in summer by up to 2 degrees Celsius by 2020;
  • reach modest goals in stages over 10 years to 2020 (based on original 2011 targets);
  • annually review data from trial demonstration projects and, if no longer necessary by 2020 cease to operate;
  • support commercial urban farms producing organic vegetables and fish;
  • achieve a united approach by agencies, using their pipes and wires to help cool roads;
  • increase practical knowledge in the community and Council about achieving sustainable communities;
  • make annual changes based on data reviews;
  • achieve a sustainable suburb by 2020; and
  • provide a roadmap and a high benchmark for more sustainable suburbs in Sydney and across all local government areas in Australia.

The Plan is part common–sense–design; part council policy guide, and most of all; an approachable response to the impacts that cities have on our planet. It offers residents, businesses and Council ways to create a more exciting and sustainable community: environmentally, personally and financially. It will call on the vast resources and experience of local council to advise on changes and provide an opportunity to trial more resilient urban planning and management techniques. Even before achieving the goals above, the process of developing these community-lead projects will spark engagement with sustainability in the community, stimulate thinking and planning for the long-term.

We hope that the ideas you find here inspire you to see the potential in the streets and forgotten spaces in our cities. We look forward to sharing our experiences as we make transform ours.

Get started with Chapter 1: The Vision

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