SUSTAINABLE  CANBERRA                                           australian institute of landscape architects   AILA®




  • Locate community environment park within existing urban infrastructure (within the ACT government’s Canberra Spatial Plan 7.5km radius for urban intensification.) Aim to locate park close to bus services to reduce car trips to the site. 
  • Aim to retrofit any existing buildings, as this has lower embodied energy than constructing new buildings.
  • All new buildings should be designed to meet or exceed best practice environmental design
  • Consult with the local community about their needs, desires and concerns of the proposed development.  Gain community input into the conceptual and master plans for the project.
  • Employ a multi-disciplinary team to oversee the project including landscape architects, architects, horticulturalists, water engineers, horticulturalists, artists, planners and environmental educators.
  • Aim to include an area of eco-housing (Refer Eco-Housing guidelines) adjacent to or within the proposed project.

Landscape Design

Water use

  • Aim to be sustainable in water use. Reuse grey and black water using passive systems such as reed beds, landscape evaporation/transpiration beds and harvest water in swales. Alternatively consider installing an active grey water system. These measures will have a marked benefit to the local catchment.
  • Maximise site permeability. This will also assist the local catchment by reducing peak flows and nutrients entering local creeks and drains.

Landscape Materials

  • Incorporate sustainable landscape materials wherever possible.  This will reduce the ecological footprint of the project.
Site Ecology
  • If practical and if original soils have not been adversely affected aim to restore some of the existing ecology to the site – this will improve site biodiversity.  If possible link site to existing open spaces and reserves to create habitat corridors. 
  • Choose plants with multiple functions. For example, when choosing a species to create privacy, consider one with screening capabilities, produces edible fruits and is bird attracting.

Site Accessibility

  • Ensure site is accessible for wheelchair users and for strollers.

 Food Production

  • Showcase a range of organic food production techniques including, permaculture.  Consider showcasing innovative intensive food production systems like aquaponics (a hybrid of hydroponics and fish farming) and vertical walls (Vertical Salad Bar).
  • Showcase rare and endangered vegetables and small animal breeds (such as chickens, ducks, rabbits, sheep and small cattle).
  • Demonstrate best practice intensive farm management.
  • Showcase efficient irrigation practices.

Building Design

  • Aim for passive solar design for all buildings and project to demonstrate best environmental practice.
  • Showcase a range of alternative energy generation products, such as solar and wind technologies.
  • Capture rainwater in tanks for internal building use and landscape irrigation.
  • Use non-toxic and sustainable building materials wherever possible.  This will reduce the ecological footprint of the project and limits exposure of builders, workers and volunteers to toxins.
  • Incorporate composting toilets on site.

Communal Spaces & Activities

  • Set aside communal gathering areas, such as community vegetable gardens, ‘village greens’ for markets and community events.
  • Provide bike parking to encourage cycling and reduce car dependency.
  • Establish a program of activities such as community events, workshops, fundraisers etc

Planning for climate change

  • Ensure buildings and landscape are well integrated to  address a hotter and drier climate.
  • Ensure the development will be shaded by appropriately selected trees (considering their final height, longevity, weed potential and whether deciduous or exotic) and the majority of plants need to be able to cope with a hotter and drier climate. 
  • Consider creating ‘mini-oasis’ adjacent to buildings that can aid passive cooling.
  • Relegate cars to the edge of the development.
  • Consider using green roof and green wall technology in the project to reduce building running costs.

 Interpretive/Education Programs

  • Ensure professionals are engaged to develop well considered information is made available to the public with a range of information needs.
  • Use professionals to tailor appropriate environmental programs to school age children – the environmental ambassadors of the future.

Case Studies


CERES, East  Brunswick



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