21 February 2010 – The Green Building Council of Australia today launched a  new national framework for sustainable communities at the opening of the Green Cities 2010 conference.

The framework is part of development work for a new Green Star-Communities tool, which is to commence development in June.

Both will join Precinx, the new Lancom tool for sustainable residential communities launched last year [see our story] – in a signal that the industry is moving towards a broader communities-focused understanding of sustainability.

GBCA Chair Tony Arnel said the new Green Star -Communities framework, developed with partner VicUrban and in collaboration with industry and government, would be a “national resource” and would “establish the context” for the GBCA’s Green Star -Communities tool.

Mr Arnel said framework would also complement the Australian Government’s reforms that will require states and territories to develop capital city strategic plans by 2012 that meet national criteria for transport, housing, urban development and sustainability.

“This framework will provide valuable support for, and complement, the federal government’s sustainable cities agenda, and we expect everyone from planners and designers, through to builders and community neighbourhood groupswill find the framework useful,” he said.

GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew said the framework signified an evolution in the GBCA’s focus -from individual buildings to communities, precincts and cities themselves.

“The GBCA is confident that the construction and property industry now has sufficient momentum and interest to keep driving forward on both an individual building and community basis.  While the GBCA expands its influence beyond the building envelope, Green Star continues to advanceto ensure we have the right tools -and the right skills -to push the boundaries of best practice sustainability Benchmarks,”  Ms Madew said.

The framework contains five national principles for sustainable communities:

  • Create liveable communities
  • Provide opportunities for economic prosperity
  • Enhance environmental quality
  • Design great places
  • Promote good urban governance.

The framework has been supported by  Rock Development Group, Brisbane City Council, Grocon, Lend Lease, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Barangaroo Delivery Authorityand Stockland.

Several industry leaders, including GPT and Stockland, have signalled that 2010 is the year in which to broaden the focus from demonstrated competence in single green buildings, to community sustainability both physically through the built environment and through a value paradigm.

The Fifth Estate – sustainable property