Sustainability is the central concept of our age, it represents a new lens through which to interpret the world – Charles Landry
The Coburghagen blog is about creating and sharing a collective vision of sustainability within an urban community in Melbourne, Australia. The inspiration comes from the good work being done all around the world, but particularly in this case at the Copenhagenize Design Company (CDC).
Copenhagen is justifiably famous for embracing its cycling culture, and the good people at CDC offer a set of criteria for rating the engagement any city has with this key mode of sustainable transport.
The idea of Melbourne creating and supporting an environment that makes cycling an everyday and accessible activity for its residents was instantly appealing and hugely exciting. I began to wonder how we would do it, not only for greater Melbourne, but for the very suburb I call home, Coburg.
This is where my own personal theory of change comes into play. I realised that whilst advocating for change in regard to bicycles, or walking, or public transport within my community is an important need, transport is but one element of the overall sustainable design of our cities and communities. How do we/how should we integrate and connect with other vital elements such as urban form, energy, water, nature, food, and waste?
Option 1 was to educate. To tell all of the good people out there what they should be doing and how. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like being told what to do. Why should you listen to me? Excellent question.
Option 2 was to live sustainably in every way and to share my personal experiences of reducing, reusing and recycling. I’m a huge fan of leadership by example, but I can’t help but feel this story is already being told well by a diverse range of people in a diverse range of contexts (but I promise to keep up the composting).
So then, we come to option 3. I love ideas, the bigger the better. I’m the first to admit that I’m much better at imagining new ways of doing and being than putting them into practice – my unnaturally high levels of impatience may have something to do with this. But this is where I return to the ‘hagenizing’ of Coburg. If CDC could inspire me with a vision of a bicycle friendly neighbourhood, from all the way over in Copenhagen, then how much more powerful would it be to discover a well of sustainable innovation and creativity already existing locally?
The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust
This blog is therefore dedicated to finding and sharing the stories of the individuals, families, businesses, organisations, schools, churches etc that are actively engaging with issues of sustainability within Coburg, in an environmental, socio-cultural and/or economic context. It is my hope that a scratch of the surface will find and demonstrate a myriad of locally devised ways to design and create a sustainable suburb and community for the 21st century and beyond. Who better to change the social norms and behaviour of a generation of rabid consumers than our very own neighbours, brothers, mothers, colleagues and friends?
If this concept of citizen led change is a little too idealistic for you, check out any of these resources for further insight:
- ‘Adventures in the Anthropocene‘ by Gaia Vince
As a guide you will find this blog divided into three central categories:
- Philosophising (sharing those big ideas I spoke of earlier)
- Local News (on the ground in Coburg)
- Foreign Correspondence (stories and contributions from beyond the boundaries of Coburg too good to ignore)
My hope, as the blog develops, is that these three categories demonstrate a natural synergy, giving context, support and background to each other where and when needed.
Along the way, I hope to encourage the capacity within all of us to view the world (local and global) through the imaginary lens identified by Landry, and turn the vision into reality.
Agent of Change @ Coburghagen