Planning and implementing living infrastructure in the Australian Capital Territory

15 May 2017

This report has been prepared for the CURF Living Infrastructure Project. The project focuses on generating knowledge to support delivering of innovative, high-quality living infrastructure as part of Canberra’s urban renewal and development processes. Through a combination of reviewing and synthesising the literature and consulting with key stakeholders the research has identified a number of key themes and issues relevant to Canberra. These are summarised below:
With reference to integrated planning of living infrastructure, the CURF research found that: 1. Living infrastructure initiatives focus on transformation of the forms and functions of cities while also building human and institutional capacities. 2. Strong synergies arise from integrating urban and conservation planning with decarbonising and innovation strategies. Integrated planning approaches harness these synergies to achieve multiple social, economic and environmental benefits. 3. Given the substantive governance and integration challenges, consideration needs to be given to the institutional arrangements required for long term commitments to living infrastructure. 4. Criteria for success include institutional and political commitment, capacity for integrated planning and active community participation. 5. Technical and institutional complexity can constrain living infrastructure programs, requiring concurrent commitments to integrated planning.
In terms of opportunities for the ACT, the CURF research found that: 6. Canberra has an opportunity to become a centre of innovation in living infrastructure (LI) through integrated planning for urban climate adaptation. 7. Successful LI strategies emphasise the cultural aspects of innovation. Canberra has the potential to be a catalytic sponsor for innovation through demonstrating transformative adaptation options. 8. Cities have traditionally been centres of innovation. Comprehensive climate adaptation strategies focus on reducing emissions, increasing sequestration and building technical and social capacity for innovation. To this end, Living Infrastructure strategies would be enhanced through research and development (R&D) and educational partnerships. 9. Through an integrated Living Infrastructure program the ACT could enhance expressive, technological and cultural capability for adaptation.

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