Ginninderra

Making positive impact at Ginninderra

This week we shed more light on CSIRO’s ambitions and the positive impact we anticipate from the Ginninderra venture. We also debunk a few myths that have circulated in the media.

In targeting new benchmarks for innovation in sustainable urban development, CSIRO Ginninderra will strive for positive impacts on social, economic and environmental fronts.

To achieve such goals we know we will need to apply our latest science and innovation to deliver a showcase of leading practice, which may require doing some things differently.

Part of doing things differently will be to find novel ways to protect the conservation and heritage values of the site and integrate it into the design and development of a sustainable and resilient built environment that supports a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community.

CSIRO has identified over 200 ha (more than 30%) of the total 701 ha property to be set aside for conservation. This will provide habitat and corridors for a wide range of species as well as the opportunities to conserve and restore several important ecological communities.

Notably at Ginninderra, we have approximately 114 ha of Box Gum Grassy Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands of varying quality and, with the help of the community, we have started improving these jewels in the landscape through various restorations activities.

CSIRO has been thrilled with the way that so many in the local community have volunteered their time to assist in this activity and provided ideas and thoughts on the vision for the site.

That vision doesn’t stop at ecological restoration, as it is equally about providing jobs and economic opportunities, innovative urban infrastructure, urban food production, affordable housing and transport solutions, and a range of recreational and lifestyle opportunities.

Early estimates of the number of dwellings that could be established over the life of the Ginninderra development are in the order of 5,500 – 7,500. The exact number will not be known until after a development partner has been confirmed and a Development Control Plan is finalised, but will be significantly lower than figures quoted recently in the media.

Through our community engagement, we have certainly heard the message about existing concerns with traffic flow surrounding the site, which has increased with the expansion of Gungahlin and the growing number of commuters travelling along the Barton Highway.

The issues around Gungahlin Drive, William Slim Drive and the Barton Highway are not new and options for improving traffic flow in this particular area have been proposed since 2010. This pre-dates any considerations or plans by CSIRO to redevelop the Ginninderra site.

Irrespective of the existing road situation, CSIRO has committed to the ACT Government to contribute to road infrastructure in proportion to the impacts from the CSIRO development.

We see this as part of an integrated solution where we are also exploring innovative ways to reduce off-site peak-hour commuter traffic generated by CSIRO Ginninderra by supporting more opportunities and services for people to work from within their local neighbourhoods.

Many of the finer details of the urban development at CSIRO Ginninderra will not be clarified until a development partner is confirmed and a Development Control Plan is finalised. Detailed planning and stakeholder engagement is expected to occur throughout 2018. The earliest that any development could commence on the site would be in 2019.

CSIRO’s ambition is that the Ginninderra venture will advance the science and innovation that underpins sustainable, liveable and resilient cities, bringing a stream of benefits to the ACT and the nation, as well as generating revenue to support Australian science.

Project update – June

This past month, much of our focus was on the two community planting days held on Sunday 21 May and Sunday 28 May and organised with the support of the Ginninderra Catchment Group.

A big ‘thank you’ to all volunteers who took part. Due to the combined energy and efforts over two weekends, the plantings were an overwhelming success with more than 1600 shrubs planted. This is a great start to restoring a patchy shrub layer in the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands of Ginninderra.

We extend our thanks also to our collaborators Ginninderra Catchment Group, Our Dream Café for refreshments, Horizon coaches for onsite transport and Shelter ACT and Hall Rotary for the barbecue lunches.

If you enjoyed the woodland planting days and are interested in future events like this, make sure you are registered to receive our CSIRO Ginninderra newsletters or keep in touch with Ginninderra Catchment Group and Landcare.

This month, we also published a story on fuelling a hydrogen-powered future. Hydrogen is a logical choice for a fuel of the future, for the simple reason that, when used in electrochemical reactions to generate energy, it emits only heat and water – making it a clean, green option. While it’s already available in a number of makes and models of fuel-cell vehicles, there are still a few barriers to overcome before hydrogen is widely available and universally used.

Further to our commitment to find affordable housing solutions at Ginninderra, some members of our project team had the opportunity to participate in an affordable housing forum in Sydney.  We remain open to hearing about good practice and innovative approaches from around Australia and overseas and exploring what solutions could look like at Ginninderra.

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Striving for more affordable housing options

Housing affordability remains a major challenge across many parts of Australia including in the national capital – home of CSIRO Ginninderra.  Further to our 2016 Think Tank, we remain committed to helping to address this challenge through the future sustainable development proposed at CSIRO Ginninderra.

As we continue the process to identify a suitable development partner, one of the things we are looking for is a similar vision and commitment to finding affordable housing solutions at Ginninderra.  We remain open to hearing about good practice and innovative approaches from around Australia and overseas.  To this end, members of our project team recently attended the Trueventus Affordable Housing Australia Conference in Sydney.

At the conference, our team heard about recent experiences and case studies in a range of areas, including:

Attending events such as this is just one of the ways we are following up on the ideas and interest that was generated at our own high-level Affordable Housing Think Tank in 2016.

What solutions could apply to Ginninderra?

CSIRO is still exploring a range of innovative technologies, finance and governance models that would enable us to deliver affordable housing options at Ginninderra.  We continue to engage with various experts in the field to seek advice and to improve our understanding.

In Canberra, we value our relationship with ACT Shelter, who bring great expertise and passion to this issue.  We certainly appreciated the support of ACT Shelter at our recent Community Planting Days at Ginninderra, where they hosted a BBQ to sustain our hard-working community volunteers who were planting shrubs to help restore our woodlands.

Our future joint development partner, and their network and collaborators, will also bring fresh ideas and opportunities to be explored and examined.  It’s clear, however, that the affordable housing issue is a complex one and there will be no simple solution or quick fix.

A diversity of solutions as part of an integrated, systems approach is likely to be the best way forward and we are committed to identifying what this might look like at Ginninderra.

A range of solutions may contribute to what works best in Canberra and at Ginninderra.

New and innovative construction methods will help deliver affordable housing. Pictured here is the Zero Emission House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Army helps restore shrubs to the woodlands

In days gone by, the ecosystems of the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands of the Canberra region were managed by local Aboriginal people who lived off the land and its multitude of native species.

Among other practices, the first Australians used fire to help manage the landscape – an approach known as ‘firestick farming’.  In those days, the grassy ground and shrub layers that are home to a diversity of plant and animal species were far more abundant and widespread than they are today.

However the diversity in these woodlands has diminished over nearly two centuries of European influence and, in particular, with grazing and the clearing of land for agriculture and settlements.

As we commemorate Reconciliation Week, this week it has been fitting to have the Aboriginal Green Army planting hundreds of shrubs and complementing the efforts of 130 community volunteers. Together these conservation volunteers are helping to reconcile the vital shrub layer in the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands of CSIRO Ginninderra. Thank you one and all!

CSIRO is actively involving Aboriginal people and traditional custodian groups in efforts to understand, care for and protect important cultural and historical heritage in the landscape of Ginninderra.

We have been working with these groups over several years to identify sites and elements of natural and aboriginal cultural significance. Late last year we worked with traditional custodian group representatives to salvage artefacts from the Ginninderra site.

Later this month we are planning to host an Aboriginal heritage interpretation walk at Ginninderra led by a Ngunnawal elder and welcoming the participation of Aboriginal community, Landcare and Green Army groups.

We are keen to work further with Aboriginal custodian and Landcare Groups to help conserve and restore landscape features and, among other things, to share knowledge on fire management methods in the woodlands and derived native grasslands.

CSIRO is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia to enable sustainable futures for Aboriginal people and shared research and land management is a key part of that.

Once again we say thank you to the Aboriginal Green Army and the coordination provided through the Ginninderra Catchment Group.

 

Thank you one and all!

A big ‘thank you’ to all volunteers who took part in our two community planting days on 21 and 28 May.

Last Sunday a further 74 people took part and were able to cover three plots with 875 shrubs. That means, thanks to the combined energy and efforts over two weekends, the plantings were an overwhelming success with more than 1600 shrubs planted. This is a great start to restoring a patchy shrub layer in the Ginninderra Box Gum Woodlands.

We extend our thanks also to our collaborators Ginninderra Catchment Group, Our Dream Café for refreshments, Horizon coaches for onsite transport and Shelter ACT and Hall Rotary for the barbecue lunches.

If you enjoyed the woodland planting day and are interested in future events like this, you can register to receive our CSIRO Ginninderra newsletters or keep in touch with Ginninderra Catchment Group and Landcare.