This paper presents new research in the area of Green Urbanism in form of two models for urban growth and neighbourhoods, as cities transform from a fossil-based model to a model based on renewable energy sources. Among the most significant environmental challenges of our time are the increasing fossil fuel dependency of cities and buildings and their growing demand for energy – all likely to be major challenges for urbanism in the 21st century. In this context, avoiding mistakes in urban design at early stages could genuinely lead to more sustainable cities and less greenhouse gas emissions. This paper reflects upon practical strategies focused on increasing sustainability on the urban scale, beyond and within the scope of individual buildings. Several big cities in the developed world have now started projects and initiatives focused on energy transformation in urban areas to reduce their dependency on oil, coal and gas resources. This paper deals with cross-cutting issues in architecture and urban design and addresses the question of how we can best and 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, improving the environmental performance of our cities. The author provides a context for the discourse about the regeneration of the city centre, its step-by-step transformation to a sustainable model, and discusses how urbanism is affected (and can be expected to be even more affected in future) by the paradigms of ecology. Research in sustainable urban design recommends increased harnessing of the energies manifested in the existing fabrics – for instance, through the adaptive re-use of former industrial (brownfield) sites and the upgrade and extension of existing building structures. Two recent and relevant examples for the application of such urban design principles are the proposals for the Australian city of Newcastle: the ‘City Campus’ and ‘Port City’ projects. These concrete and realistic case studies give the paper a specific focus and illustrate, that it is less environmentally damaging to stimulate growth within the established city centre rather than sprawling into formerly un-built greenfield areas.
25th Passive and Low Energy Architecture International Conference (PLEA 2008). Proceedings of the Passive and Low Energy Architecture 2008 Conference (Dublin, Ireland 22-24 October, 2008)