Net Zero Carbon Urban Development: How can we make the transition precinct by precinct?

  • YEAR
    Newman, Peter
    Hes, Dominique
    2021 Symposium Abstracts
    Conference Papers


Net Zero Carbon development is very much on the global agenda along with net zero everything else. It is often seen as something that needs big scale deployment of renewable energy in large solar farms or wind farms that simply feed green electrons into the same system we have already. Electric vehicles in this scenario can simply make urban sprawl green. However, as in every previous era of technological innovation there are definitely changes to the urban system that will follow and this will be based on transport and form adapting to the new system. This paper will set out how the new mainstreaming net zero technologies are: solar, batteries, electric vehicles (of all modes) and smart technologies that can integrate these into a renewably powered precinct. These technologies work best when applied directly into the urban area that needs to go net zero as this will significantly save energy, time and space. The paper will set out how different urban fabrics from central, inner, middle and outer suburbs through to peri-urban and rural villages, each can use these technologies in different ways. Fundamental will be the focus on a precinct scale that optimises the technologies but will depend on creative architecture and urban planning systems to enable the shared systems of delivery and shared local governance. The transition to building such net zero precincts will be suggested based on previous research projects. The other important aspect of such a transition will be how to include people-positive and nature-positive outcomes as well as climate-positive outcomes. Case studies of how this is being done will be presented.

Collection of data from several key developments doing net zero and literature from around the world.

The results will show how the five urban fabrics can transition differently using these four mainstreaming technologies in a theoretical framework. Case studies will be used to illustrate. A focus on the middle suburbs will be provided as that is the area where most redevelopment potential exists and how it can be net zero whilst greening these grey fields.

The Net Zero city is underway but is mostly looking for a model for how to make the transition. This paper shows how it can be done, not just in Australian cities but anywhere as the small-scale systems can be adapted to any city. The cultural differences are still needed to make place and nature a significant focus as well as the new era of climate resilience.


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