This paper reports on research in the area of 'Green Urbanism' and new models for urban growth and neighbourhoods. Excessive fossil fuel dependency and the growing demand for energy are likely to be major challenges for urbanism in the 21st century, as cities need to transform from a fossil-based model to a model based on sustainable energy sources. Urban design and the fundamental principles of how to shape our cities have barely featured in the greenhouse debate. Much of the debate has so far circled around ideas about active technology for 'eco-buildings'. This is surprising, given that avoiding mistakes in urban design at early stages could genuinely lead to more sustainable cities. The study deals with cross-cutting issues in architecture and urban design and addresses the question of how we can best cohesively integrate all aspects of energy systems, transport systems, waste and water management, passive and active strategies, natural ventilation and so on, into contemporary urban design and improved environmental performance of our cities. Two recent examples for the application of such urban design principles are the proposals for the Australian city of Newcastle: the 'City Campus' (densification model) and 'Port City' (expansion model). These case studies illustrate that it is less environmentally damaging to stimulate growth within the established city centre rather than sprawling into new, formerly un-built areas. Research in sustainable urban design recommends increased harnessing of the energies manifested in the existing fabrics, through the adaptive re-use of former industrial (brownfield) sites and upgrading of the existing building stock.
2nd Oxford Conference: 50 Years On: Resetting the Agenda for Architectural Education. The Oxford Conference: A Re-evaluation of Education in Architecture (Oxford, UK 22-23 July 2008) p. 43-48