AEMSLab Transition Projects

Strategic Planning Methods for Urban Areas

Urban areas develop both both through planning and organically. This is something like a potted plant - the general form of the plant depends on the species of the plant, but the specific size and shape and complexity depends on the size of the pot, exposure to light, and the attention of the gardener. In today's urban areas, there are underlying forms that were developed before cars. Once the car became the focus of transportation and urban planning, the organic growth of oil intensive urban forms over the past 70 years have resulted in the cities we have now. There is no question that current urban forms are at risk from oil shocks and oil supply decline. What is not known is how to assess that risk, what to do to be ready to deal with oil issues, how to improve resilience, how to measure adaptive potential, and most importantly, how to evaluate costs and benefits of development projects in the context of long term oil supply decline. The next 70 years will see the decline of use of oil in personal transport to around 5% of current levels. What would be good investments in infrastructure and public assets, personal and business property over the next 10, 20, 50 and 70 years? Our research aims to develop the assessment, analysis, modelling and communication tools for planning of prosperous cities during this transition period.

How do we deal with Issues, Risks, and Problems?

  • Assessment of the Issue, what are the probabilities of occurrence, what are the possible ranges of impacts?
  • Readiness: assess and improve the readiness for the most probable and highest impact issues
  • Resilience: assess and improve the resilience of the system to recover to normal operation when the issue occurs
  • Adaptive Capacity: assess and improve the ability of the system to adapt to pressures for change without affecting essential activities
  • Re-design and Re-development: assess and invest in the most susceptible sections of the system to improve functionality, quality as well as readiness, resilience and adaptive capacity

Re-Design and Re-Development of Urban Residential Areas

For the past 70 years, urban residential development has been dominated by the car-dependent suburb. There have recently been some interesting new developments in brown-field or central city areas for high density apartments, such as in the LoDo area of Denver, Colorado. However, the automobile suburbs are going to come under considerable pressure to adapt. Can we come up with a development product for conversion of the suburbs to a low energy intensity forms? If we think about the development products that have been developed over the past 50 years for green fields, can we conceive of a new approach to suburbs as potential lucrative development areas?

Transitioning Oamaru

Transition Town Project
15-16 March 2008, Hosted by Natural Heritage Society Oamaru Inc.

The first Transition Town active research forum was held with a group of 55 participants and the organisers from Oamaru and surrounding communities. The purpose of the forum was:

  1. To provide the facts about Peak Oil, Global Climate Change, Electric Power System
  2. Help people explore their individual and group responses
  3. Provide a forum to generate projects in the community for sustainable value, resilience, adaptation

For more information download the pdf.

Fundamental and Theoretical Studies

  • Silke - Modelling of an Exclusively Renewable Version of Burnside
  • Sustainable New Zealand - The Virtual Reality Game
  • Anthropogenic Continuity Theory
  • Continuity Planning Methodology Case Studies
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