UTA's EcoDenCity initiative and Victoria's Reformed planning zone parallels

The Editors and regular writers of generally try to get one large editorial piece out per day and today, if you haven't noticed, there's been somewhat of a takeover.  Today's piece by Tony Peric outlines the EcoDenCity initiative driven by the primarily Sydney-based Urban Taskforce of Australia (UTA).

In June 2006, the then Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, launched an initiative called Ecodensity. This initiative sought to address Vancouver's vast and growing ecological footprint by committing to environmental sustainability in all future planning decisions. The central tenet of the Ecodensity initiative is that high quality densification, in itself, is one of the most effective sustainable measures a city can take to reduce its ecological footprint.

The density simulator created by the UTA is a brilliant tool for the wider public to understand how barebones development intensification can take on multiple forms and there are some direct parallels with what's presented on the EcoDenCity site and the state-wide planning zone reforms now underway across Local Government Areas in Victoria.

For instance one could assume the R4, R6 and R8 development types (R is for "Residential" and the number delineates how many levels each building would likely have) would be directly applicable to the new "Residential Growth Zone". In a nutshell the Residential Growth Zone now available for councils in Victoria is a blanket 4 level height limit - the height limit can be varied with a schedule by the respective LGA implementing the new zones and no doubt different regions of Melbourne will have the variance.

If you take a look at the City of Moreland (refer to cross-posted map below) draft zones now open for public comment, they're proposing to use this new Residential Growth Zone to increase development intensity around the major public transport corridors and nodes. The Planning Moreland accompanying documentation illustrates the correlation with the UTA development types quite succinctly as well.

I'd hazard a guess in saying the major nodes of Sydney Road, Lygon Street, Nicholson Street and Glenroy - they are all zoned as Mixed Use - would most likely be similar to the R12 category as outlined in the EcoDenCity documentation.

Overall the EcoDenCity site and tools are applicable to any city which is actively attempting to engage its residents and the UTA ought to be commended for the initiative. 

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