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Australia’s first low-carbon community

City of Sydney Council has launched the Green Square project, with Lord Mayor Clover Moore announcing the $8 billion development as “bigger than Barangaroo” and the largest urban development in Australia reports Anna Christie in the December 2011 issue of The South Sydney Herald.

Flanked by senior officials from Operations, Planning and Sustainability divisions of Council, the Lord Mayor announced the start of the first phase of the Green Square redevelopment.

Green Square includes the suburbs of Alexandria, Beaconsfield, Rosebery and Zetland. Unlike Barangaroo, Green Square has been planned to be among the most sustainable, and one of very few natural gas tri-generation powered communities, in Australia.

“We want Green Square to be Australia’s first low-carbon community,” said the Lord Mayor.

Tri-generation, a form of power using natural gas rather than coal, is so-called because it yields power, hot water and cooling.

The first stage of the high-density mixed residential, business and community infrastructure will be to construct a 14-hectare Green Square Town Centre, featuring a civic square the size of Martin Place between George Street and Pitt Street. The heritage administration building at the South Sydney hospital site will form the heart of the tri-generation operations and an environmental education centre.

By the end of 2013 the first community facilities in the Town Square will be completed and environmental technologies are expected to be installed. City of Sydney is taking advantage of this rare opportunity to build infrastructure that will revolutionise local area environmental sustainability in Australia.

In addition to cutting carbon emissions, City of Sydney has an ambitious stormwater management plan to provide 100 per cent of the area’s non-potable water needs. Shea’s Creek, a stormwater channel that comes from Randwick and Kensington, will be filtered and the water accessed.

All buildings will be designed to meet new standards so that they will fulfil the City of Sydney 2030 sustainability goals.

There is even a feasibility study into ducted waste disposal under the streets, thus doing away with rubbish trucks. This technology uses suction through a subterranean network. Sounds like science fiction? From what Council says, this aspect of innovation is not as strongly advanced as the others, but still a possibility.

The Lord Mayor emphasised that environmental sustainability was not the only concern, saying that aesthetic and usability factors were also highly valued. She wants Green Square to set “new design benchmarks” and achieve “beautiful design and beautiful facilities”.

Although Green Square has an underground railway station just one stop from Central, this will need to be augmented to serve the new community.

The new Government department, Transport for NSW, says it is investigating the feasibility of extending light rail through the CBD, to the University of NSW and to the University of Sydney as part of a transport “Masterplan” for NSW.

9,300 workers and 5,800 residents are projected in the Town Centre alone.

A proportion of those residents will have children, but no schools have been incorporated into the plans. The existing local school, Waterloo Public School, is no longer a comprehensive local school, but a special school for children with disabilities. No land has been set aside for a school.

Council depends on the Department of Education to supply reliable projections about the demand for more schools, in keeping with the increased population. City of Sydney has provided updated statistics to inform the discussions and projections. John Dwyer, Senior Program Manager, said that the “City is making the point very strongly” that the Department has to get it right.

The Green Square redevelopment will take over a decade to build, with private building construction continuing up until 2024 and full occupation by 2031.

City of Sydney will be involving the community in naming parks, streets and public places, including new streets and malls.

Photo: Artist’s impression of Green Square Town Square

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2011