Michael Mobbs, far left, pictured with local Chippendale residents

– 23 October 2009 – Residents of Chippendale [Sydney] are seeking a new road design for Australia.

Their goals are to: build a demonstration road that will cool our cities, grow our food, and grow conversations in our streets by 2009, to use the project to create a new design template for Australian roads by 2010, and to design solutions that may become business as usual as they are affordable within existing road and park budgets of Councils

After 18 months of our own works, by October 2009, we now:

  • Grow food on roads of six urban blocks
  • Harvest, store and absorb over 50 per cent of rainfall where it falls on roads, roofs to cool the streets and to and grow productive landscape
  • Stop over 4 million litres of stormwater entering Sydney Harbour at a cost less than $300
  • Grow over 5 per cent of citrus and herbs in the streets for over 100 households
  • Cut food miles by over 5000 k a household or over half a million kilometres for 100 households
  • Grow conversations in the streets and community gardening skills
  • Cut waste cutting trial at a local café that: cut café food waste by 100% at $nil cost to owner and Council; cut almost all paper and cardboard waste; replaced a farmer’s fertiliser costs and use of oil and gas based products with recycled food waste
  • Trial public composting from seven compost bins that grow over 7 tonnes of soil a year; take over 7 tonnes of carbon out of the air; and stop over 21 tonnes of food waste leaving the suburb

Our next steps are to work with the city council and road agencies to document the project to inform council and agency tree, road and waste strategies.

We have had excellent support from most sections of Sydney Council, in particular the landscaping folk and the general manager, Monica Barone, and some councillors, John McInerney and Chris Harris, have been essential to the success of the project.  Some senior officers in the RTA, the road agency, and the road standards sector have also been supportive.  Who knows, the one third of Australian cities which is mostly coloured black and heats us up more than climate change, may one day approach sustainable, natural temperatures and begin to retain the vital rain which falls there.

Michael Mobbs and Stephanie Alexander spoke to the ABC Life Matters program on growing food.  Listen by clicking here

Michael Mobbs is a sustainability coach who works with developers, governments and communities to design and obtain approvals for houses, units and subdivisions. He is based in the inner Sydney suburb of Chippendale, where in 1996 he pioneered the conversion of his inner city terrace into a sustainable house, which has now been disconnected to mains water and sewerage and is powered by solar energy.

contact: michael@sustainablehouse.com.au