Michael Mobbs

10 December 2010– Sydney City Council will fund a project to investigate the feasibility of creating a demonstration sustainable suburb in inner city Chippendale that builds on the work of  local sustainability coach and columnist for The Fifth Estate, Michael Mobbs.

The project to be led by Mr  Mobbs will work on ways to extend the  community food based gardening in the streets that he has fostered and initiatives such as low-cost stormwater harvesting

Mr Mobbs will also investigate ways to cool ambient temperatures through lighter colours for streets and roofs.

A council meeting this week approved a $30,000 grant to fund the initial consultancy and project development costs.

Sydney City chief executive officer Monica Barone said in a council memo that Sustainable Sydney 2030 commits the City to becoming “green, global and connected.”

She said: “The commitment to green living not only focuses on supporting green industries and making green lifestyle choices, but also the physical greening of our urban environment.”

The Myrtle Street area, where Mr Mobbs lives, was recommended because it already had a number of sustainable features and ideas could be used for regular demonstration events for the broader community, Ms Barone said.

Under the agreement Mr Mobbs will make his house available for community education purposes. It has already been viewed by about 19,000 for its sustainability features.

Mr Mobbs said some of the ideas trialled in the street had already proved their value but others concepts were more challenging. For instance, how to lighten the colour of existing roads so that they could become heat reflective, or introduce more trees.

“Can we plant trees in the middle of the road, and if so where?” he asked. “We will look at how to make streets where the car is a guest and where pedestrians and cyclists dominate.”

The work will involve working closely with road agencies and other authorities, Mr Mobbs said.