Sustainability targets underpin vision
CSIRO’s Ginninderra Project team has been busy refining the vision, and setting the goals, objectives, benchmarks and measures that will underpin Ginninderra and make it unique.
At Ginninderra, we aspire to partner in creating a world-leading sustainable urban community that is supported by science and best practice.
As part of the planning that will feed into the next stage of attracting an outstanding joint development partner, our team workshopped the sustainability framework including:
- Refining the project vision, drivers, objectives and constraints
- Identifying risks and opportunities
- Examining national and international examples of benchmark design
- Defining sustainability benchmarks and targets in environmental, social and economic aspects. This included targets for energy and water efficiency, ecology, materials and waste management, economic activity, jobs, transport, affordable housing and community activity among other focus areas.
CSIRO’s aspiration continues to be to create a community and urban precinct that showcases world’s best practice in nature conservation, urban design, construction and long-term liveability. The aim is for the Ginninderra to be an exemplar, both nationally and internationally, with a community proud of its place in the Canberra region.
CSIRO’s priorities for the Ginninderra project include restoring and improving key areas of the natural environment, while setting a new benchmark for design and development.
Through the planning, design and construction of Ginninderra, we want to create a place where people want to live and enjoy living.
Given the size, location and long development timeframe, Ginninderra affords a great opportunity to trial, test and research various technologies, innovations and initiatives.
Project update – November
Over the past month, the project team has continued to develop the framework to protect the ecology and retain significant green space and environmental corridors in the landscape of a proposed future development at Ginninderra.
As part of ongoing environmental studies, Umwelt Pty Limited (Umwelt) was engaged to undertake this ecological survey for the Ginninderra Field Station to determine the extent of ecological values, including matters of national environmental significance (MNES) on the property.
In early November, we were pleased to release the Ecological Values of CSIRO Ginninderra Research Station Report.
If you have any questions about the findings, please leave a comment below or email us.
Umwelt also prepared an Ecological Management Plan to assist us to maintain the condition of matters of national environmental significance (MNES) in identified areas.
The Ecological Values Report is one of three reports that has been released to the wider public. We look forward to adding to this number as the planning process continues.
Last week, a workshop was held for the project team to further refine our aspiration to partner in creating a world-leading sustainable urban community at Ginninderra which is underpinned by science and best practice.
We examined successful international design models and developed sustainability benchmarks and targets which will be included in the tender documents to inform a joint-development partner.
We are also in the process of collating the information required for an ACT heritage nomination.
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Affordable housing – restoring the great Australian dream
A growing population, rising tide of record high property prices, limited land release and broader economic and social change is swamping the great Australian dream of owning a home and even pushing rent payments out of reach for many Australians.
Is this an inevitable and unstoppable tide? It doesn’t have to be – according to some leading experts and creative thinkers.
The encouraging response at our Affordable Housing Think Tank suggests there is a groundswell of innovative ideas – for example flexible design, tenure and financial models – that could make Australian homes more affordable and sustainable.
But how can we make a difference when it has been difficult to achieve this in many states and jurisdictions across the country?
Short of a major collapse of our city real estate markets, it is difficult to see how property prices and rents might be attainable for many Australians, particularly the younger demographic and those in low-mid income ranges.
Recent reports have found:
- 27,500 people or 13% of the ACT’s workforce, are in housing stress. This includes 43% of people working in retail and 33% of those working in accommodation and food services. [ACT Shelter et al, 2015, “Housing affordability and the labour market in the ACT”, Canberra.]
- 7% of low income households renting in the ACT are in housing stress (spending more than 30% of gross household income on housing costs) [ABS, Housing Occupancy and Costs 2013-14, cat. no.4310.0 released 16 October 2015]
- Of 1,497 private rental properties advertised in ACT and Queanbeyan on 2 April 2016 – only 102 of these were affordable and suitable for a family of two adults, both earning the minimum wage, and two children. [Anglicare Australia, Rental Affordability Snapshot 2016, Canberra]
A combination of factors is driving the market and compounding the affordability crisis. Of course our population is growing and ageing, but household and family structures are also changing, which often means we have fewer people in each house (declining occupancy rate). Put this together with the tax breaks and incentives that have existed for multiple property investment and it adds up to a lot of competition for the properties that come on the market.
Since new land and housing supply has not kept up with this level of demand, the asking prices continue to be high. Those with the ability to pay higher prices win out, leaving mid and lower income earners with a tough battle.
If unchanged, this amounts to a fairly bleak outlook for those in or close to ‘housing stress’.
While it’s possible to build more units and release more land, in a tight fiscal environment everyone wants to maximise returns to balance the books. Governments or landholders want the best price for land, while developers, builders, real estate agents and investors all want to maximise profits.
More creative ideas and sustainable and enduring solutions are needed.
At Ginninderra, we have the opportunity to achieve strong affordable housing outcomes.
The Affordable Housing Think Tank was a first step, bringing out a wealth of ideas to inform our approach . Two experts who attended were Dr Louise Crabtree, a Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University, and Mark Peacock, Director of Impact Investing at Social Ventures Australia.
“As people’s housing needs change, imagine if their houses had flexibility of design,” said Dr Crabtree. “For Ginninderra, I think we should be asking how it is governed – owned and structured – on an ongoing basis. The site is really quite special as it can set a benchmark and really push innovation in terms of affordability and sustainability for future developments.”
Mr Peacock said, “The Ginninderra site presents so many opportunities. One of the ideas that I’d like to see progress around is what a mixed tenure or mixed development type model might look like – catering to different groups of people at different stages of their lives. How do you bring together a wide range of individuals and families to build a community? Through a variety of housing, different types of stock, and potentially different forms of social infrastructure on the side.”
Affordability is just one of the sustainability issues that confronts our cities and urban environments. Some of the others are water, energy and resource consumption, waste and environmental impacts.
We believe that with a lot of planning, collaboration and co-operation, it is possible to address them all in a sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.