Eco-districts for urban sustainability: Seminar

The School of Government and the Institute of Policy Studies in association with the Centre for Sustainable Cities held a seminar on 11 November 2008 at Victoria University, Wellington. Speakers included Tricia Austin, Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland. She spoke on: Creating eco-districts for urban sustainability: Lessons from Hammarby Sjostad and Eco-Viikki.

Eco-districts, eco-towns, low carbon developments and zero carbon housing are concepts that are moving from out of the policy agendas and drawing boards and into the light of day in some European countries. In England there is much debate about the proposed eco- towns – a policy response to climate change, the need for more sustainable living and increased housing supply. In Scandinavia, eco- districts are already under development and being ‘tried out’ by their first residents. Two exemplary Scandinavian eco-districts – Hammarby Sjostad (on a large brownfield site in Stockholm) and Viikki (on a greenfield site in Helsinki) – provide contrasting ways forward for urban New Zealand.

Tricia Austin is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Auckland. She has a long involvement with the development of policies, strategies and plans at the national, regional and local level for increasing the supply of good quality, affordable housing in New Zealand. Research Leave from the University earlier this year enabled her to spend time in Stockholm, Helsinki and England and study these emerging eco-districts and eco- towns.