Archive for the ‘Regional Planning’ Category

What causes climate change and how will it effect global environmental and economic systems?

By David Holland,
Grad. Dip. Environmental Management, B.A.S Env. Planning.
This article has been derived from research related to studies in the subject climate change impacts, mitigations and adaptation compiled by Professor Andrew Rawson as part of a Master of Environmental Management at CSU. 

This blog is about a scenario of a briefing note to a minister on anthropogenic climate change.

This briefing note is to a government official somewhere in the world whom is somewhat convinced of the existent of climate change and recognises that climates do change over thousands and even millions of years, but is unsure of the fact that the effects of climate change are actually caused by man-made processes and that the burning of fossil fuels has made any difference to something as fundamental as the climate. He is unconvinced that a few degrees will make any large difference to the climate in the long or short term and such changes, he would suggest, would have little effect of the national or world economies. (A. Rawson 2016)

This note below is an attempt to convince a government politician of the need for urgent action to reduce the causes of anthropogenic climate change. Climate change that will occur in the near future that will affect global natural and economic systems.

A fictitious briefing notes to a Minister on anthropogenic climate change

 From the start of the industrial revolution in the 1880’s, the world has used fossil fuel energy to power an ever increasing amount of applications for industry and the home through coal powered electricity generation and fossil fuel powered transport. The invention of the steam engine and then the coal fired steam turbine has been at the forefront of the transformation. In the early 1900’s Road transport changed from bullocks to truck and buggies to cars, both powered by the application of burning fossil fuels in the form of petrol and diesel.

Staggering amounts of oil based fuels are used every day. Coal is still used in very high quantities to power all our homes and workplaces even though many countries have small plants of more sustainable fuels to generate power. The use of this type of fuel has a cost and that cost is the by-product of the burning process which is carbon dioxide (CO2).

In pre-industrial times humanity burnt wood and then trees were replaced by natural processes or planted giving the opportunity for more wood fuels to be burnt and the cycle did not add a considerable amount of CO2 to the atmosphere, but over the last 150 years mankind has been mining fossil deposits at an ever increasing rate and burning this to produce energy. These fossil deposits are materials laid down over millions of years. These materials contain carbon that has not seen the light of day for millions of years and now millions of tons of this material is burnt and produces tons of CO2, liberating it to the global atmosphere.

As a result, the carbon cycle from plants to the atmosphere is now out of balance. This means that there is a CO2 positive contribution to our atmosphere.

But out of that positive contribution 93% of the CO2 is able to be absorbed by the ocean and other carbon sinks. So where is the problem?

The problem is that the CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane and nitric oxide create a warming effect in the atmosphere. This warming is created by the suns radiation being converted to heat energy when it hits the land and the heat being trapped in the atmosphere by these GHGs.

As the concentrations of these gases increase over time more heat is retained and the average global temperature increases in the atmosphere. This increase is set to change global climate.

That means that although we will still have cooler days and warmer days, overall combined the temperature will be warmer.

Increased global temperatures will also have a flow on effect where warmer atmospheres will make the oceans warmer. Warmer oceans will affect a range of weather patterns over time through changes both to evaporation patterns and the potential for oceanic currents to change. 

 Monsoon rains will move from the tropics to the temperate zones. There will be more precipitation along the coastal regions and less in the interior. There will be bigger storms creating more damage to life and property.

With warmer atmospheres and warmer oceans there will be more glacial retreat and more melting of the sea ice in the polar regions. This will affect the food supply, breeding habits and habitat of many cold region animals.

Agriculture will be affected in the inland due to less rainfall. Coastal regions will have higher storm surge events creating flooding.

With the warming of the oceans, the melting of polar ice and the melting of mountain ice caps there will be more water in the oceans and with higher temperatures there will be an expansion of the sea water, both contributing to an overall sea level rise along our coastlines.

This sea level rise increases the risk of storm flooding and will affect not only private property but sensitive eco-systems in salt marshes and freshwater wetlands. It will affect low lying agricultural land and the net result will be higher insurance premiums.

It is true that the climate has changed over the period of the earth’s existence, but present changes are much more rapid than the earth has ever seem.

 Although there have been many extinctions over the years, because of this rapid change many more organisms will be at risk simply because they will not have the capacity to move in the face of this rapid change. In past global warmings and coolings extended over thousands of years. Animal species and their food sources had time to migrate to suitable climates. But this climate change event is different and ecological systems will be severely affected.

Coral’s symbionts are sensitive to warmer water and on many occasions over the last few years coral bleaching has occurred were these symbionts have been killed off.

Polar bears are reducing in numbers due to the sea ice retreating and now in 2016 very little remains in many areas of the habitat of the polar bear.

There have been paleoclimate changes in the past. Ice ages and interglacial periods have often been driven by changes in the earth’s orbit. And as far as can be determined the earth is now in an orbital pattern that should be providing cooler climate conditions, but in opposition to this pattern the earth is heating up. (according to recorded data over the last hundred years and from ice core data going back in time over 400,000 years)

By assessing the ice core data and correlating the atmospheric temperatures when the ice was laid down and measuring the concentrations of CO2 found in tiny air bubbles in the samples, scientist can make a correlation of the temperature and the CO2 concentrations over that 400,000 year period.

Their data analysis concludes that long term temperature trends are affected by CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

But there is a large amount of CO2 mixing with the ocean waters and this is tending to acidify the oceans ever so slightly. This, over time, may have an effect on a range of marine animals not least shell accreting molluscs which may find it harder to build shells in acidic conditions.

Warming seas causing more coastal precipitation could produce fresher waters in coastal regions and saltier waters in mid oceans, potentially altering subduction patterns, which in turn could alter sensitive and important ocean currents.

Changes to these currents, in particular currents that bring nutrients from the ocean floors could affect food chains for fisheries in some regions.

It is not just about the atmosphere warming it is about changes to a range of ecological system that will affect human habitation and our life style long term.

 If we were to consider the precautionary principal, we should reduce our emissions of CO2 immediately. But it is evident that the volume of new CO2 that has been poured into the environment over the last 150 years is massive and it has to have gone somewhere.

The volumes of methane (one of the GHGs) from agriculture that goes into the air from farm practices and animal husbandry is massive let alone what emanates from land fill.

The amounts of nitrates (that produce nitric oxide another GHG) that come from agricultural fertilisers and from other source is huge and all contribute to not only global warming but a range of other effects as well.

Can the planet cope with the CO2 humanity is producing? The answer is yes it can for a period, but when the oceans become effectively saturated with the gas CO2 and conditions for the growth of phytoplankton at the bottom of the food chain in the oceans becomes too toxic for them and they die, the oceans will become hypoxic and will no longer be able to absorb the CO2. In fact, the oceans will tend to produce CO2 putting it back into the atmosphere. By then large amounts of the oceans will be unable to sustain habitats for many marine creatures.

 It is evident that man-made CO2 emissions is not just about global warming and a shift of warmer climates towards the poles, it is about fundamental changes to the way ocean currents run which effect global weather patterns. It is about fundamental and deep changes to ecologies and the very survival of mankind in the medium and long term or at least how humanity lives and what resources will be available to help create any kind of stable economy into the future.

 

 

Sea Level Rise and how to manage coastal land already developed

 

 

In the late 1990’s I recognised that climate change was a real threat to our coastal environs. With wilder weather events predicted under climate change our coastal dunes were vulnerable. Our settlements and streets were also vulnerable to these wilder storms. Now with the reality of sea level rise caused by the ocean’s expansion and the melting of kilometers thick ice on the polar land masses, Australians living on the coast need to be concerned how government is going to plan for our future with regard to land management and risk mitigation related to property values and our wealth accumulated in these coastal properties. This paper discusses these issues.

By David Holland

 

Short cut to Paper: Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales

Habitat Town Planning Forum

 

Newcastle forshore

By David Holland

The Risk Model, as described in the following paper,  is an approach for local councils in NSW to plan for future climate change induced sea level rise in an equitable and proactive way.

It allows local government to approve developments that are under the maximum State Government of NSW benchmarks set at 900mm over the present flood levels while at the same time reduces risks to litigation due to damage of properties from climate change brought by property owners who’s developments are below this maximum standard set by the State Government. (Often a maximum standard set by State Governments become a minimum standard for local government due to the threat of litigation by land owners.)

This standard has become an enormous problem to land owners in at risk locations along the coast of New South Wales. In recent times insurance policy premiums have skyrocketed. Land…

View original post 380 more words

Transport for NSW Long Term Master Plan – Submission on Discussion Paper

As an advocate for both adaptive thinking and the Environment the Habitat Association for Arts and Environment has included the latest publication by one of its members, David Holland, on transport planning for New South Wales.

For those who are surfing the web from outside of Australia, New South Wales is arguably the most populous State in Australia and has a large economy in Australian terms.

This means that transport planning in New South Wales (NSW) is pivotal to the future success of that economy and the we being of the residents and workers of the State.

We may even go as far as to say that without a solid strategy for the future and new co-operation between the various transport agencies, NSW is poised to produce more transport bottleneck which will affect the states future prosperity. The submission outline three themes that Mr. Holland feels are important for the way forward. They are sustainability, security and reliability.

The submission not only looks at very practical aspects of providing a sustainable public transport system, but also sustainable ways to operate transport systems into the future. This is highlighted in the approach related to handling freight. The submission proposes a logical but revolutional way to handle freight service between regions and between other Australian States.

The use of renewable energy in the rail system is touched on as a way for the State to meet renewable energy targets.

The Central Coast of NSW is referred to in much of the submission. David believes that regional Australia is often left out of detailed transport planning processes because of the assumption that all commuting, as has been traditionally the case, is flowing to and from the Sydney metropolitan areas. With the slow but steady improvement of job opportunities in the regions, more and more commuting is being done intra-regionally. This means that public transport services should not only accommodate this trend but transport planning should drive this trend, providing appropriate infrastructure to give greater opportunity for regional investment in the growing regional economic powerhouses of the Illawarra, the Central Coast, the far west of Sydney around Penrith and the Blue Mountains, and the south west of Sydney around Campbelltown.

To Read More follow this link>:

The Habitat Association announcing a new project to the world. Visions of Inner Sydney.

This project has been in the background for many years. It is a collection of photographs of the inner suburbs of Sydney.

Dr. Ray Rauscher has been conducting this study one day a week over many years. While research is still being done, and the full understanding of what is actually happening in a social and aesthetic sense in the inner city is not apparent through the photographic study, some trends are starting to be seen.

 

The study at present is in a stage of categorising and familiarisation of similar aspects of the changes and adaptations of this urban environment in the single largest and oldest city in Australia.

Below is a taste of the kind of photograph that is part of the study material.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now go to the Habitat Association for Arts and Environment dedicated site for the project of “Visions of Inner Sydney”

< Click Here >

A Paper to identify the nexus between Wyong Shire’s Township master Plans, the Wyong Township’s Transport Precinct and the NSW Road and Maritime Services Proposal

Planning Public Transport Structures & Wyong Town Centre

The drive to put a four lane highway through the township

By David Holland,  B.A.S. Env. Plan. Grad. Dip. Env. Mgmt.

Introduction

Over the last few years the Road Traffic Authority has been updating the Pacific Highway on the Central Coast.  It has been prioritising the work by widening the most needed sections first. In the last 2 years the road between Wyong Road and the Wyong river has been completed to the 4 lane standard. This has improved traffic flow from the Tuggerah Business and commercial precinct. With this stretch of road the RTA has incorporated a secragated bike track as well as bus priority lanes. This section of road has been well thought out and is a quality segment of road.

The next stage is the crossing of Wyong River and pushing a renewed road through the township of Wyong.

Background

Over the last three years the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has engaged in several community consultation campaigns. The first was directed to residence in the locality, explaining some of the alternative proposals put up by the RMS, none of which fully addressed the concerns presented in the submission to the RMS.

Various groups and individuals have contributed to the number of options that could be made to enable the Pacific Highway traffic to flow through the Township.

Some include the diversion of the traffic to a new ramp to the freeway.  The RMS suggested that this would skew traffic flows towards minor streets in the western parts of the town causing traffic problems in these areas.

The Baker Street Master Plan

This is a Wyong Council master plan which is located immediately to the east of the railway station. It will allow multi-storey development  in both commercial and residential forms. It is a pivotal plan for any realistic development for the township.

The River foreshore Master Plan

The river foresaw master plan is located on the Wyong river to the south-east of the Transport Precinct.  Although some re-design may need to be incorporated into the plan due to new considerations of sea level rise introduced in 2010, this is potentially a necessary expansion for the town. It will provide the potential for additional residential developments.

Both master plans will add to the attractiveness of the township as a residential location and provide the much-needed consolidation to development around the township to ensure the viability of both the shopping opportunities within the town and the transport precinct.

The Town Plan (DCP 7)

The existing town has a heritage constraint on development, but will be able to be redeveloped over time under the Development Control Plan (DCP) 7 for the Shire. In addition adjacent and within the confines of DCP 7 a cultural Master Plan was released in 2011. This will be developed to further enhance the township experience.

The Transport Precinct

The current transport precinct consists of the railway station, bus interchange, a commuter car park and a taxi rank. In close proximity to the interchange are several small take away and coffee shops. Although the precinct works well a number of issues are evident concerning it.

1. Security and the misbehaviour of public transport users

2. Many people use the interchange to transfer to other designations and spend little time in the town.

3. As the station is the most northerly permanently attended  station by railway staff on the Central Coast and has good ticketing facilities and good car parking facilities, many commuters prefer to drive to this station in preference to other stations closer to their place of residence. In addition, although the bus services are improving, many commuters find the private car more convenient and faster to get to the train at this station.

The Future role for the historic town

When problems with the fragmentation of the town by the proposed roadway are overcome and suitable inducements are created for developers to develop the master plans to the east of the town, the town will hold a good future as a business centre for the region. This business sector would then be supported by a commercial retail, and service sector within the town. With the appropriate transport precinct at the heart of the town, it will emerge that most of the movement around the small town will be as a pedestrian.

To read the recommendations put forward by the Wyong Planning Committee of the CEN, after considerable consultation with a range of local organisations including Wyong Shire Council click on the link.

Submission to the RMS on the proposal to put a four lane highway through the township

Submission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia

The North Wyong Structure Plan is one of the most important documents compiled for the Central Coast. It identifies the pattern or template for development in the fastest growing areas of the Central Coast, the areas north of the township of Wyong.

The plan has been produced from the objectives of the Central Coast Strategy 2008, which is the main future looking document for the whole Central Coast.

The relationship of this plan to the Draft Central Coast Regional Transport Strategy (CCRTS)

Recently, the Central Coast has had the opportunity to be presented with the Central Coast Regional Transport Strategy.  This document although still in draft, in our opinion, was not able to satisfactorily identify the future transport needs of the Central Coast. By not using demographic trend data to show the huge needs in transport for the future of the Central Coast it was not able to properly analyze future transport trends and plan projects that relate to these trends. As this plan relies on the CCRTS for transport planning into the future we feel that the transport component of this plan is inadequate.

This document however, while only touching on transport has been able to show the capacity that the Central Coast will be able to contribute to NSW and the growth potential of the area covered by the North Wyong Structure Plan.

Trend from Private to Public Transport

The Plan outlines a potential of up to 10,000 new jobs with the release of developable land over the scope of the Plan. With this increase in employment opportunities there will be an increasing burden on transport infrastructure to move commuters. To increase efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions the Plan should move with the trend away from private forms of transport to public transport. This planned trend will help avoid cost blowouts on roads funding and time wasted by commuters waiting on congested roads.

It is expected that a large proportion of the jobs will be filled by workers from the southern parts of the Central Coast and Newcastle. It would be ideal that everyone living in the region would be able to walk or ride to work, but this would not be practical considering individual life style choices. However, workers will examine the feasibility of how to get to a particular job. This is where transport plans and transport planning must use a forward planning model to help enable large parts of the work force to easily access public transport.

The CCRTS, of which the Plan relies as a blue print to achieve sustainable transport is lacking in vision.  The Plan lacks a vision for transition from the medium term planning to the long term planning. The Plan, for example, relies on the CCRTS to supply the needed road infrastructure for the massive amounts of movement that is planned within the Plan.  This movement must be planned so that workers leave their cars at home and travel by public transport to work, either locally or from the regions. Bus services must become a seamless option for commuters.

<Read More Issues covered in this submission>

Central Coast – NSW – a Regional Growth Area

Proposal to establish a ‘regional growth area’, including governance and planning structures, for the Central Coast – covering Gosford City and Wyong Shire.

Sustainable Communities Research (SCR) has recently been working on aspects of the growth centre of Warnervale / Wadalba as well as greenfield and renewal growth areas in Wyong Shire and Gosford City. The paper addresses key issues and major questions of strategic planning and infrastructure financing of these areas. Of priority importance for the Central Coast are water planning, population management and infrastructure provisions.

From this work SCR makes three recommendations for consideration, including: extending the area of responsibility of the CCRDC to the Warnervale / Wadalba growth centre; designating Wyong Shire as a Local Government Growth Area; and, designating the whole of the Central Coast as a Regional Growth Area.  The report also suggests five Central Coast plans need to complement the Central Coast Regional Strategy (CCRS) (2008). These plans as noted below are: infrastructure; sustainable transport; conservation; water management; and affordable housing.

Report Recommendations:

A. Growth Areas

We recommend that the State government designate the whole of the Central Coast (Gosford / Wyong) as a Regional Growth Area.

We make three suggestions (containing options) about growth areas for the State government to consider:

1.      State government extending the area of responsibility of the CC Regional Development Corporation (CCRDC) to the Warnervale / Wadalba growth centre;

2.       State government designating Wyong Shire as a ‘Local Government Growth Area’;

3.      State government designating the whole of the Central Coast (Gosford / Wyong) as a Regional Growth Area (preferred option).

B. Planning

We recommend that five plans complement the Central Coast Regional Strategy:

1.      CC Infrastructure Plan – with commitments to delivering needed infrastructure to meet population growth.

2.      CC Sustainable Transport Plan – follow-up actions under the CC Regional Transport Plan (2010) linking the existing major population centres and integrating public transport (rail/buses), roads, cycleways and walkways.

3.      CC Conservation Plan – the yet to be completed plan to conserve the local environment and address degradation from past development (especially the lakes and valleys)

4.      CC Water Management Plan – linking the three above to this plan under the newly formed CC Water Corporation.

5.      CC Affordable Housing Plan – to ensure many local people on lower incomes can afford to live on the Central Coast.

A report presented to:

Hon Bernie O’Farrell, Premiere of NSW, Australia on Wed 21st Sept 2011

by:                             Sustainable Communities Research

Compiled: Wed 24th August 2011

In association with

Habitat Association for Arts and Environment

www.habitatassociation.com.au

Authors            –       Kevin Armstrong and Dr. Ray Rauscher

To read the full report: <click here>