Centre for Urban Transitions

Scenarios, visions and pathways for a low carbon built environment 2040

This four-year project (2013–2017) is funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL RP3008) and involves researchers from the University of Melbourne, Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions and UNSW.

The research: 

  • Reviews drivers, opportunities, barriers and uncertainties of a transition to a low carbon built environment
  • Identifies emerging technical and social innovations
  • Develops scenarios and translates these into visions and pathways (necessary socio-technical changes) related to distributed energy and water systems

The Swinburne team comprises Professor Peter Newton and Stephen McGrail.

Research collaboration: Professor Chris Ryan (Project Leader, University of Melbourne)

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Greening the greyfields

The project aims to develop new development models and processes capable of enabling precinct scale medium density regeneration in the ageing middle residential (greyfield) suburbs of Australia’s major cities in response to urban infill targets of 70% new housing construction that feature in recent metro strategic plans.

This five year project (2012–2017) is funded by the CRC for Spatial information and involves researchers from Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions and Curtin University’s CUSP.

The research is developing innovative spatial technologies, planning and design instruments and stakeholder (community, development industry) engagement processes to:

  • Locate contiguous greyfield properties with high redevelopment potential as precincts
  • Create low carbon and sustainable medium housing precinct designs and performance assessment tools
  • Create new planning instruments to support medium density precinct redevelopment in general and neighbourhood residential zones
  • Develop a new suite of engagement processes for use in town hall and kitchen table meetings with communities and neighbours

The Swinburne team comprises Professor Peter Newton, Project Leader and Dr Stephen Glackin.

Research collaboration: Professor Peter Newman (Curtin University).

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Social psychology of low carbon behaviour and predicting behaviour change

The project aims to understand the cultural and societal mechanisms for low carbon behaviour and develop a psychological index of people’s likelihood to change.

This four year project (2014–2018) is funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL RP3012) and involves researchers from the University of Melbourne and Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions.

The research involves:

  • Literature review
  • Stakeholder surveys
  • Catalogue of behavioural practice regarding low carbon alternatives
  • Development and validation of an index of readiness for low carbon living
  • Testing index in several CRCLCL living laboratories

The Swinburne team comprises Professor Peter Newton, Associate Professor Christine Critchley and Dr Gordana Bruce.

Research collaboration: Professor Yoshi Kashima (Project Leader) and Dr Lean O’Brien (University of Melbourne)

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Assessing the impact of solar PV on domestic electricity consumption in Sydney

This project identifies whether conservation or rebound effects are associated with solar PV take-up by examining the changes in electricity use between 2008 and 2012 by Sydney households who installed PV compared to those that did not.

This 9 month project (2016) funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL RP2016) involved researchers from Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions.

The research analysed Ausgrid data for 5000 households in order to develop and test an econometric model capable of estimating the level of additional electricity consumption households with installed PV consumed compared to those without PV.

The Swinburne research team comprised Dr Gary Deng and Professor Peter Newton.

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Retrofitting Urban Precincts to Create Low Carbon Communities

This project aims to overcome barriers and develop opportunities for precinct building owners and energy and water utilities to transition to low carbon decentralised energy and water infrastructures using Broadway, Sydney CBD as a living laboratory. It attempts a socio-technical transition involving multiple stakeholders.

This two-year project (2014–2016) was funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living  (CRC RP2018) and involved researchers from AECOM, Flow Systems and Swinburne University Centre for Urban Transitions.

The research project aimed to provide knowledge to bring lower carbon, energy and water solutions to communities in Australia’s cities. The project specifically aimed to identify and understand the economic, stakeholder, regulatory and technical barriers to transitioning existing communities to low carbon energy and water solutions and devise viable pathways for stakeholders to successfully transition. The research sought to empower stakeholders within communities to drive transitions to low carbon energy and water use, by providing them with the data and processes they need for change. These transitions have not been successful to date, and research is urgently needed to improve our knowledge and enable the delivery of precinct efficiencies with infrastructure. The CRC Low Carbon Living aims to begin this international journey by examining Sydney’s Broadway Precinct. This research seeks to identify the opportunities and blockages in such transitions through a living laboratory approach (using Broadway precinct in Sydney) and then identifying widely applicable typologies that may enable such a transition to be applied to any precinct.

The research team comprised Professor Peter Newton, Roger Swinbourne (Project Leader, AECOM) and Dan Hilson (Flow Systems).

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Consuming the Urban Environment: A Study of the Factors that Influence Resource Use in Australian Cities

The research seeks to understand the factors contributing to the contemporary pattern of escalating urban consumption in Australia.

This three-year project (2009–2012) was funded by the Australian Research Council as a Discovery Project. It involved researchers from Swinburne’s Centre for Urban Transitions and Monash University.

This project was the first study to quantify how much of Australia’s total consumption is designed into our cities and housing and how much is related to an individual’s discretionary behaviour and the sets of attitudes and values that drive it. Based on an extensive sample survey of Melbourne households, multi-level modelling was used to apportion total consumption (energy, water, urban travel, housing space, domestic appliances) across individual and household (eg lifestyle, socioeconomic position) versus contextual factors (eg dwelling, urban location, technology etc).

The Swinburne team comprised Professor Peter Newton (Project Leader), Professor Terry Burke and Professor Denny Meyer and Associate Professor Maryann Wulff (formerly Swinburne and Monash universities).

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Green Shoots? Exploring the Genesis and Development of a Green Economy in Australia

This project examined the manner and rate at which a green economy is emerging in Australia in order to identify strategies that will best facilitate the adoption of sustainable technologies and practices.

This three-year project (2012–2015) was funded by the Australian Research Council as a Discovery Project and involved researchers from Swinburne and Curtin universities.

The research objectives involved examining:

  • The strength of the innovative base in green technology in Australia as a platform for the growth of a green economy. Is there a critical mass of enabling S&T apparent? In which industries and sectors? Is there an obvious technology roadmap?
  • The geography of the green economy. Each previous techno-economic transition saw fundamental changes to urban structure (Brotchie et al., 1987; Newman et al., 2009); How are the new green industries and jobs best classified? What transformations in locations of jobs and industries are likely to characterise a green economy? How will the empirical information to emerge from this study stimulate thinking around a theory of industry location and patterns of investment within a green economy?
  • The process of greening organisations across key sectors of Australian industry; understanding the engines of the green economy at firm and sectoral level. Where are the green industries? What are the barriers to transition? What is the size and significance of the green economy to the nation? How green is the supply chain for each industry cluster? What are the principal sources of ‘green’ investment for each industry?

The Swinburne research team comprised Professor Peter Newton (Project Leader).

The project involved a collaboration with Professor Peter Newman from Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute.

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Towards a new development model for housing regeneration in greyfield residential precincts

The project investigated the processes required to create an effective development model capable of delivering more affordable and sustainable medium-density housing through the regeneration of greyfield precincts in Australia’s capital cities, with a particular focus on Melbourne. It targeted the middle suburbs as the key areas of investigation for new urban infill policy.

This two-year project (2010–2011) was funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and involved researchers from Swinburne, Monash and RMIT Universities.

It involved investigative panels as well as related research to pioneer a transitions management model that embodied:

  • Investigative Panel 1 – Exploring Why? Where? Who? How?
  • Investigative Panel 2 – Design, construction and viability
  • Investigative Panel 3 – Community, finance and governance
  • Investigative Panel 4 – Mapping a new precinct development model

The Swinburne research team comprised Professor Peter Newton (Project Leader).

Collaborators included Professor Shane Murray (Monash University) and Professor Ron Wakefield (RMIT).

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au


Performance Assessment of Urban Precinct Design: A Scoping Study

The project addressed the fragmented approach to precinct design assessment by undertaking an extensive review of the state of existing methods and tools and proceeding to develop a detailed functional specification for precinct design and assessment tools and databases that could be used as a blueprint by the CRC for Low Carbon Living’s Program 2: Low Carbon Precincts.

The 18 month project (2012–2013) was funded by the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC LCL RP2001) and involved researchers from Swinburne University and the UNSW.

The scope of research included:

  • Literature review of national and international precinct assessment methods and tools
  • Review and comparison of national and international LCA and costing principles, methods and databases
  • Developing a functional specification for precinct design and assesment methods and software tools

The Swinburne research team included Professor Peter Newton (Project Leader) Centre for Urban Transitions

Collaborators included: David Marchant, John Mitchell, Jim Plume (University of NSW), Seongwon Seo (CSIRO) and Rob Roggema (consultant).

Contact

Professor Peter Newton
t: +61 3 9214 4769
e: pnewton@swin.edu.au