Melbourne leads global green cities

By Paul Hemsley

Participating international cities will be able to contact each other regarding solutions through a global network on sustainable urban development led by the City of Melbourne.

Cities such as Johannesberg, London, San Francisco and Sao Paulo will be among the overseas local governments expressing interest in sustainable communities.

The announcement of the City of Melbourne's leading of the network followed a free public forum in late March on Sustainable Communities: Collaborating, Planning, Delivering with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

Mayor Robert Doyle said the network of cities will work with key stakeholders and partner with the private sector to deliver practical solutions to challenges associated with sustainable urban development.

City of Melbourne councilor, Dr Cathy Oke said one of the economic benefits of such a network is participating members will know others who are working on particular issues around sustainable urban development on a global level.

“We have each other’s contact details so if someone wants to speak to someone on the other side of the world in another city, they actually know who it is they can speak to about it, then they can have that conversation and share information,” Dr Oke said.

Dr Oke told Government News it is discussed on how participants can get their sustainable community objectives into their tender documents and into their procurement strategies.

“If another city has already done that, then it would be great to share that,” she said.

She said it creates time efficiencies knowing one can call someone within the network instead of going to a conference, which would cost a lot of money.

Dr Oke said Danish architect, Jan Gehl attended the C40 Workshop said there has not been a problem where there was not a solution somewhere else in the world.

Regarding the challenge that different parts of the world have different standards in what may work or not work for each city, there is different legislation to deal with, as well as different densities of buildings.

“Ultimately though, there are so many similarities with cities around the needs of people, how to design a building, how to manage waste systems, or how to design the streets or a community garden,” Dr Oke said.

In terms of funding models such as capital and whole-of-life, this will be a topic of discussion between cities involved in the network.

Often at the city level, which might not be a big capitol city or a popular city, but it might be a city in the developing world or even a smaller council, it is too often saying ‘that’s great but where are we going to get the money to do that?’,” Dr Oke said.

She said the network should involve moving away from the traditional levers that councils make and conversations around financial models.

“Of course, some things might not be exactly the same in cities from around the world, there are similarities, whether it’s municipal bonds or whether it’s actually buying in the utility yourself,” she said.

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