For some, the GBCA’s Green Star tools are a challenge, and for others they are business-asusual. For seven years we have used voluntary rating tools to generate market demand for building green which, ultimately, has resulted in industry transformation.What if we could do the same for our precincts, places and communities? Could we create market demand for more sustainable processes and outcomes that shape our communities?
Framework for sustainable communities
In response to this challenge – and indeed this opportunity – the GBCA, with the support of government and industry around Australia, has created a national framework for sustainable communities. This framework provides the foundations for a future rating tool. The framework establishes five national principles for shaping the evolution of communities, both new and existing. It addresses the issues of liveability, prosperity, environmental quality, place making and governance.Given the range of issues to be addressed, the framework has been developed through a collaborative process with our project partner VicUrban, and guided by a diverse technical reference committee reporting to a national steering committee. The framework and tool are being developed with the kind support of our sponsors Rock Development Group, Brisbane City Council, Lend Lease, Stockland, Grocon, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Barangaroo Delivery Authority, and Sustainability Victoria. .A draft of the framework was scrutinised by over 150 organisations across industry and all levels of government over the past two months, and will now be refined and launched later this year. The GBCA hopes the framework will help government and industry to evolve our future cities and provide a much needed ‘common language’ around the attributes of sustainable communities.
A foundation for the Communities Tool
Importantly, the framework establishes the foundations for the Green Star Communities tool, the GBCA’s most exciting project yet. This journey is ambitious and demanding, and indeed daunting. However, using our well-tested model for tool development, we believe that through strong partnerships and information exchange we can produce a tool that helps to create demand and rewards leadership for exemplary sustainable community projects.
The scope of the tool is yet to be confirmed and will take into account the feedback from more than 12 months of consultation with industry and government. Our tool development will consider tools and methodologies that already exist within the market place, as the Green Star model references existing best practice benchmarks and standards as opposed to creating new ones. We have also commenced a process of identifying the successes and failures from our sister organisations in the UK, US and Canada, which have followed this same path through the development of their tools for communities and neighbourhood developments. As with our building tools, we expect Green Star Communities to evolve over many years and we look forward to engaging with you in this journey.