2014 Australian Sustainable Cities

I’m honoured to have been awarded the Australian Sustainable Cites (National) Young Legends Award. Its incredibly fullfilling to have bees and their role as pollinators in sustainable cities recognised. Thank you to everyone who is helping to make Canberra Urban Honey a success – we really are making a difference. We are pollinating just over 25% of Canberra now – thank you for your support Canberra!

Mitchell Pearce

Mitchell and the Australian Sustainable Cities (National) Young Legends Award

Being a part of the 2014 Australian Sustainable Cities Awards has been an inspiring experience. There is so much positive sustainability work being done, both here in our region of Canberra and across Australia. On Friday 28 November I had the privilege of meeting leaders in sustainability from around Australia when all the national finalists for the 2014 Australian Sustainable Cities were together for the day. It was a great day and we were given a guided tour of the achievements of the 2013 Most Sustainable Australian City – the City of Marion – located in Adelaide in South Australia. The awards are a yearly event and the program is managed by the Keep Australia Beautiful Organisation and you can read more about the program and the National Finalists by clicking here .

We had been part of the highly successful Twilight Festival at the Australian National University the night before so I travelled over to Adelaide early Friday morning. Of course, my day in Adelaide started with the biggest breakfast I could find. Adelaide airport has a quirky outdoor bar area and there it is a pretty cool area to sit and recharge your batteries. It’s on the ground floor, on the right as you walk towards the doors. I spend a lot of time outdoors and didn’t want to recharge inside the terminal so I was pretty pleased to find it.

Big breaky for a big day copy

A big breaky for a big day in Adelaide

I found my way to the assigned meeting place outside the Backpackers Hotel in Glenelg in plenty of time to catch the sustainable cities tour party bus. It was the beginning of a great day with staff from the Keep Australia Beautiful National Office and leaders in sustainability from across Australia.

Meeting up to catch the sustainable city tour party bus

Meeting up to catch the sustainable city tour party bus

Our first stop in our tour of Australia’s Most Sustainable City – the City of Marion – was Hallett Cove. We were treated to an inspiring showcase of how community consultation and creativity can create a masterpiece. The site is already stunningly beautiful but barren at the same time. It’s exposed and at risk of erosion. Marion City Council are planning to change the site into an awesome community meeting place. The design will explain the geological, stellar and indigenous perspectives of the location. Can you see the southern cross depicted in the plan? This has got to be urban landscape design excellence. It was really impressive and I hope I can visit again when it’s completed. You can read more about Hallett Cove here.

Hallett Cove Foreshore Regeneration

Hallett Cove Foreshore Regeneration

Hallett Cove was also the location for lunch at the BoatShed Cafe. It’s a pity we didn’t have time to wonder up the Hallett Cove Boardwalk.

Check out the Hallett Cove Boardwalk !

Check out the Hallett Cove Boardwalk !

After lunch I was blown away by the amount of work being done to build sustainable cities all over Australia. Each state finalist had 5 minutes to present a case study from their region and I was grateful for the opportunity to showcase what Canberra Urban Honey has achieved and the role of pollinators (especially bees) in sustainable cities. The case studies were diverse, creative and effective. Innovative initiatives that covered litter prevention, school education, sustainable networks and indigenous culture. It was an excellent showcase of what’s happening in Australian sustainability at a regional level, given by inspirational leaders who are getting things done.

National sustainable cities finalists - case study presentations

National sustainable cities finalists – case study presentations

National sustainable cities finalists – case study presentations

After lunch we jumped on the sustainable cities tour bus again to visit more examples of excellence in sustainable cities in The City of Marion. Two projects are stand out memories for me: The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre and the Oaklands Wetland.

The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre is an inspirational example of reconciliation and preservation of indigenous culture. The 400 year old red gum at the site was profoundly beautiful.

A magnificent 400 yr old red gum

A magnificent 400 yr old red gum at The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre

Visiting the Oakland Wetlands reinforced the amount of effort going into building sustainable cities around Australia. These wetlands were finished just over a year ago and I was impressed to see the number of advanced trees that had been preserved at the site. Mature tree preservation is a critical element of ensuring a healthy population of pollinators in our cities.

Urban Wetlands - also known as a Water Farm

Oaklands Wetlands

Touring Australia’s Most Sustainable City required a whole day, and we still couldn’t see everything. But, as the day came to an end, we all became increasingly excited to see which of the states finalists will be crowned the 2014 Sustainability City of the Year.

The venue for the Australian Sustainable Cities Awards Night was a reclaimed raw urban factory. When Mitsubishi stopped making cars in Australia they left behind this massive space that has been refurbished into a training centre and more. There are even plans to create an internal urban forest!

The venue for the 2014 Sustainable Cities Awards

The venue for the 2014 Sustainable Cities Awards

It was an incredibly inspiring experience to spend time with the other National Finalists and to see how much work is being done around Australia to build successful, sustainable cities. Congratulations to Brisbane City council, and thank you to all the wonderful people from the City of Marion and Keep Australia Beautiful for making the event a delight.


-- Mitchell Pearce


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