Urban centres are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. In Australia, Building energy use is responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more than half of which comes from the residential sector (CIE, 2007). In Australian residential homes, about two thirds of energy is used for heating and cooling (incl. water) (CIE, 2007). Residential (and commercial) space cooling is forecast to rapidly increase by up to 16% per annum (DEWHA, 2008), but will still only represent 4% of total residential energy consumption in 2020.
Cities can be seen as complex urban systems that mobilise local and global resource flows to meet the needs of their inhabitants and their manufacturing sector. However, the local consumption of resources can be responsible for major local and global environmental changes that impact the human health and wellbeing inside and outside of the boundary of the urban system. With global urban population expected to continue to grow, the mitigation of further future environmental pressures from urban consumption is of critical importance.
Abstract: Visions and Pathways 2040 is a research and engagement project that seeks to envision possible future forms of Australian cities and lifestyles in 2040 if they have achieved an 80% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions (on 2013 levels) and have addressed broader resilience issues, and, secondly, to ‘backcast’ from visions possible pathways to the present that may, in turn, suggest policies, strategies and governance structures for reaching them. This paper describes the approaches that were used in the initial phases of the project and early research results.
The papers presented at the 2015 State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 7) were organised into seven broad themes but all shared, to varying degrees, a common focus on the ways in which high quality academic research can be used in the development and implementation of policy. The relationship between empirical evidence and theoretical developments that are presented as part of our scholarly endeavours and policy processes is rarely clear and straightforward.
Many cities around the world are looking for ways to reduce their per capita greenhouse gas emissions. The outward growth of cities from a central business district, typical of many cities around the world, is often seen as working against this goal and as unsustainable. This is especially the case in circumstances where this growth is not supported by the necessary infrastructure, often resulting in an increase in the use of private transport. However, alternative scenarios to contain the outward growth are being proposed.