Ecocity conference puts Melbourne’s sustainability credentials centre stage
Melbourne will showcase its sustainability credentials to experts worldwide when the prestigious Ecocity World Summit comes to the city in 2017.
Around 1,000 leading international urban planners, architects and environmental specialists will gather in Melbourne to discuss world-leading sustainable city initiatives.
“Melbourne has excellent eco-city credentials, with many positive changes over recent years, such as investment in new technology that is improving the city’s sustainability and which we can profile at the Summit,” said Karen Bolinger, Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau.
“For example, Melbourne has advanced parking management systems supported by strong public transport links, bike sharing and pedestrian precincts, which help mobility and achieving sustainability objectives.
“In the quarter of a century since Australia last hosted the Summit there have been many improvements that have boosted our credibility as a world centre for excellence in urban sustainability.”
In 1992, the Southbank promenade, which paved the way for urban renewal along the Yarra, was only recently opened, the creation of pedestrian friendly Swanston Walk was underway, and the City of Melbourne launched its Postcode 3000 policy to attract residents to the city centre.
Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Cr Arron Wood, said the City of Melbourne’s goal is to become an eco-city that prospers within its ecological limits.
“The City of Melbourne is internationally recognised for its leadership in sustainability and is taking real action on climate change. We have an ambitious target to achieve zero net emissions for our municipality by 2020, and we are working with the community to transition towards a low carbon future.
“This conference will focus attention on the innovative solutions that we are taking to respond to climate change – whether it’s planting 3,000 trees a year, increasing the uptake of renewable energy, protecting our biodiversity or harvesting our stormwater,” Cr Wood said.
Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI), said: “It’s a great honour to host the conference, which we hope will showcase Melbourne as a centre of critical and constructive thought about urban challenges.
“Melbourne is a marvellously liveable city but it’s also facing grave sustainability threats. It’s a test bed for ideas and actions in an urban age threatened by climate change and resource depletion.”
Kirstin Miller, Executive Director of the US-based Ecocity Builders (ECB) said: "Melbourne’s winning bid for the 2017 Summit was outstanding. For one, they are setting out to strongly integrate economics, politics and culture into the debate and context shaped by ecology.”
The Ecocity World Summit is an initiative of ECB, a non-profit organisation that provides education for ecological design. It develops policy, design and educational tools and strategies to build urban centres based on access by proximity and to reverse patterns of sprawl and excessive consumption.
The Summit will be held in July 2017 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and will make an anticipated $3 million contribution to the State’s economy.
The announcement of Melbourne as the 2017 host was made today at the 2015 biennial World Summit being held in Abu Dhabi, with ECB President Steven Bercu ‘passing the baton’ to Melbourne.
This will be only the second time that the Summit has been held in Australia.
The MSSI at the University of Melbourne and the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at the University of Western Sydney are the two local champions of the Summit.The MSSI facilitates and enables research linkages and projects leading to increased understanding of sustainability and resilience trends, challenges and solutions. The ICS researches transformations in culture and society in the context of contemporary global change.