Tag Archives: Australia

Stifling innovation #2: Overland Flow

This story is a follow on from the British Standard Fire Test of an earlier post. It is the story of how an attempt to be innovative with design in the aftermath of a major natural disaster foundered on the rocks of tick-box regulation.

Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.

Satellite image of Chelmer on the Brisbane River in January 2011. Source; ABC/Nearmap.

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Injalak Rock Art Galleries

I recently had the privilege to spend some time working with the people of Gunbalanya, a small community in West Arnhem Land, part of the ‘great top end’ of Australia. Whilst there I was taken on a tour of the ancient rock art galleries of Injalak Hill.

This is a brief visual diary of that experience:

Injalak Hill from Gunbalanya

Injalak Hill from Gunbalanya

Into the wild... wet season buffalo grass grows to over 8 feet and is razor sharp

Into the wild… wet season buffalo grass grows to over 8 feet and is razor sharp

Pausing for breath and breathtaking views across the flood plain

Pausing for breath and breathtaking views across the flood plain

Viewing the gallery as it has been for thousands of years - no walkways, barricades or interpretive signs

Viewing the gallery as it has been for thousands of years – no walkways, barricades or interpretive signs

Up close and personal Gary Djorlam shares some of the stories and explains the meaning of the paintings

Up close and personal Gary Djorlam shares some of the stories and explains the meaning of the paintings

Rock polished by human contact over the millennia and an ochre grinding bowl carved by stone tools

Rock polished by human contact over the millennia and an ochre grinding bowl carved by stone tools

X-ray style painting - a Barramundi is good eating

X-ray style painting – a Barramundi is good eating

Digging for bush tucker

Digging for bush tucker

Gunbalanya viewed from Injalak Hill

Gunbalanya viewed from Injalak Hill

Find out more about tours and local art at: http://www.injalak.com/

Community Based Renewable Energy Programs

City of Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor South Australia

I’ve been inspired recently by genuine grass-roots community initiatives to regain control of their energy security as a buffer against increasing costs and supply disruptions through investment in cooperative style renewable energy.  The City of Victor Harbor in South Australia in particular has made an impressive start – more below, but first some background.

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Carbon offset credits?

The Question (from Florida): Are purchasing carbon offset credits really helpful to the environment? Where are the statistics these are actually a positive endeavour?

My Answer:

Lies, damned lies and statistics, to borrow from Mark Twain, seldom convince anyone who doesn’t agree with them in the first place. Proof positive of an environmental benefit is a long time coming in most cases. Unfortunately if we just ‘wait and see’ then it will definitely be too late to avoid harm.

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Sustainable Office: Build new or renovate?

The Question:

Is it more sustainable for a company to build a brand new but eco-friendly office building, or to purchase an existing but not so eco-friendly property?

My Answer: Continue reading

Sick and tired of “green”?

The Question:  (from the USA)

Are you sick and tired of “green.”?

Pretty much none of us want to intentionally waste or harm the environment, but are you sick and tired of “green” everything? The NFL having people use stationary bikes to reduce a so-called “carbon footprint” at a Superbowl; “global warming” commercials showing people in a hurricane implying the world will sink into the sea; and any number of crazy ideas just to say “green.” At what point does this all look like a shakedown instead of smart practices?

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An architecture of prosperity?

Transcript of my address to the Brisbane Shape Your City Heart forum, November 10, 2009:

I think the art and architecture of an era is a reliable measure of the values of the society that created it.  Each golden age produces memorable buildings that not only capture our imagination today, but also crystallise the values, dreams and aspirations of their time.

So what might the role of Architecture be in a prosperous future for Brisbane? Continue reading

Parallel Universe #1

I’ve been having a recurring dream.  I dreamt it again last night, so maybe writing it down will make a difference?

At first, in this dream I don’t realise that I’ve slipped into a parallel universe.  My surroundings look entirely familiar, until I step outside.  It is a beautiful spring morning, warm sunshine, a gentle breeze, birdsong on the air, and unusually peaceful for a weekday.  Then I notice that ‘my’ street has changed.  The road pavement is narrower and most of the houses have lost their driveways.  Carports and garages are missing.  The street trees are bigger and there are more of them.  Where driveways had been there are footpaths and gardens.  Garden plots overflowing with food crops transform the streetscape.  In the distance I see some neighbours out tending their gardens, or talking.  Youngsters are playing a ball game on the road.  On the road!  Then the realisation hits me; no cars!  Where are all the cars? Continue reading