Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Surry Hills Library in Sydney

The new Surry Hills Library in Sydney was featured in Australian Design Review and other architectural publications, so on Saturday I went to have a look. From the architectural renderings I expected the building to stand out as a big glass box amongst the small inner Sydney terrace houses. But it proved remarkably hard to find. The street front has blond wood panels and the side is a sheer glass wall, but even so does not look out of place.

The ground and lower floors of the building, which hold the library shelves and computers for the public, felt very cramped. Unlike many modern library designs, where the books are hidden away , the books are right in front of the main door . While this makes the library look like a traditional library, it makes it hard to move around. There is a very narrow bench beside the main door with computer terminals. These are arranged in a row with alternating screens just about touching. There is only just enough space to work.

The spiral staircase for access downstairs is very sculptural and dramatic, but difficult to use and obviously inaccessible for the disabled and a hazard even for the fit. There are also a number of changes of level which will make the building hard to access for those with less than perfect mobility. Downstairs is cramped with bookshelves filling the main area and seating pushed to a few narrow areas at the edges. There are 15 terminals crammed in at the far end away from the natural light.

While the building is usable, it could do with about one third of the collection being removed, to make room for people. Also more of the books could be put downstairs and the people allowed up into the light.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

E-learning for the defence industry

Greetings from the Australian Institute of Training & Development (AITD) National Conference at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney. Allison Rossett, Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State University, gave the morning's keynote on "E-learning is what?". Dr. Rossett reported results of research on the use of e-learning and mobile in particular. It was good to see this conformed with my biases. As an example training staff tended to say the students wanted traditional classroom education., whereas the students said they wanted online learning. Mobile education was talked about a lot by was not used much in reality. This was a good introduction for my session on "Gadgets and more: Mobile e-Learning Made Easy". There seemed to be many people from Defence and federal security organisations at my talk. They got excited when I showed them the Defence department's use of Moodle. Also I was asked how I had done my web based slides, so explained "Slidy".

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Training and Development National Conference in Sydney

The Australian Institute of Training & Development (AITD) National Conference starts today in Sydney. I will be speaking 10:30am tomorrow on "Gadgets and more: Mobile e-Learning Made Easy":

Tom Worthington, (aka the Net Traveller) demonstrates some cool gadgets, courseware and software being used in Learning & Development.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sydney Electronic Ticketing System Selected

According to media reports, the Pearl Consortium, made up of Downer EDI, Commonwealth Bank and Cubic Transportation Systems has won the Sydney electronic transport ticketing system. Key to the consortium is Cubic_Transportation_Systems which has provided electronic ticket systems to large city transport systems, including the Oyster Card for London Underground. Downer EDI is an engineering company (the EDI does not stand for "Electronic Data Interchange"). The Commonwealth Bank has experience with MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave these are contactless payment cards. These and similar cards are now being distributed widely to bank customers. However, it unclear if the NSW will permit their use for travel payments.

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Thursday, April 08, 2010

OLPC deployment in Australia

Sridhar Dhanapalan will talk about the recent deployment of OLPCs in Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land, at the Sydney Linux User Group Slug meeting, at Google Sydney on 30 April 2010. I have been skeptical of the value of the One Laptop Per Child project, but OLPC Australia appear to be doing good work on providing computers for education in remote aboriginal communities.

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Google Wave Jobs in Sydney

Pamela Fox has mentioned that Google have jobs available in their Google Wave team at their remarkable Google Sydney building for: a Developer Programs Engineer and a Associate Program Manger. My ex-students from ANU would have a head start with these as several ANU graduates already work at Google and the Google team drop in a couple of times a year to give us workshops and seminars.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Mobile Web at CeBIT Sydney

I will be speaking on "Optimising Sites for Mobile Devices and Search Engines" at the WebForward Conference, 26 May 2010. Suggestions as to what to say and examples to use would be welcome. This is part of CeBIT Australia in Sydney. I may also attend the eGovernment Forum: Delivering open government on 25 May 2010.

Optimising Sites for Mobile Devices and Search Engines

by: Tom Worthington FACS HLM, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University

Some simple tools and techniques can be used to allow any web site to be usable on a mobile phone and improve its rating with web search engines. These techniques can also help make your web site easier to understand for people using an ordinary web browser and particularly for use by older people.

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  • Validation Tests
  • W3C mobileOK Checker
  • TAW Web Accessibility Test

A set of tools and techniques have been developed to make the content of web pages more accessible. The best known of these are the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, with automated testing in the TAW Accessibility Tool. The use of such techniques is required by Australian anti-discrimination legislation, including by schools, TAFEs and universities in delivering education online. What is not well understood is that while these techniques are mandated for access by people with a disability, they can also be used to help with slow Internet connections, for limited devices such as mobile phones and for people with limited literacy.

There are additional guidelines and tools to help develop content for mobile devices, such as the W3C Mobile Web Best Practices and . Previously this required development of a second version of the content, specifically for mobile devices. However, as smart phones become more affordable, with larger screens and better software, it is possible to author the same content for education and service delivery to both desktop and mobile devices.

Providing accessible content and to mobile devices requires the web designer and the content author to make difficult decisions. Compromises must be made over what can be delivered and in what form. This can help make better content and better learning, by eliminating material which is entertaining, but not educational.


Tom Worthington is an IT consultant and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University, where he teaches the design of mobile web sites, e-commerce and green ICT. In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society for his contribution to the development of public Internet policy.

Tom was an expert witness in the Human Rights Commission for the Sydney Olympics web case and was invited to Beging to adivse on the design od the web site for the 2008 Olympics. He is a past president, Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Australian Computer Society, a voting member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
This stuff from my talk looks relevant. I could have to change the examples from government to business:

Run a business on your phone, or a war

* Technology which was in Australian and US DoD is now in your phone
* Use tools (W3C Mobile OK)

Exercise KANGAROO 95 took place in an area of over 4 million km square, across the Top End of Australia from July to the end of August 1995 and involved over 17,000 Australian Defence Force troops, and visiting units from the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, the UK and Indonesia.

Reports and photographs were transmitted from the exercise area using stand-alone portable satellite communications terminals, capable of 64kbps.

As manager of the Defence home page, I received the reports at Defence headquarters in Canberra and up-loaded, them to a publicly accessible Internet server at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

For the first week of the exercise I was officially on holiday, but maintained the K95 home page remotely using a pocket 2400 pbs modem and lap top PC from Mallacoota, Victoria.

In later exercises, such as Tandem Thrust 97 made more use of the Internet for the operations. However, the level of technology used in these exercises is similar to that now available in a 3G smart phone for about $1,000.

E-mail, the web and instant messaging can be used for business and government from a smart phone with a little forethought. Check your business web pages are mobile compatible. Make sure you put the important business information in a simple, clear, easy to read format. Don't use software and technology you don't really need.

Web 2.0 Thinking Needed

* Early simple web pages are compatible with mobile phones
* Later web design lost mobile compatibility
* New CSS features allow for desktop/mobile compatibility
* Need web 2.0 thinking by organisations

The processing power and network bandwidth of the laptop and desktop computers used for exercise KANGAROO 95 in 1995 is comparable with what is available from 3G smart phones in 2009. However, the use of these devices is being held up by poor web design.

Web pages design in 1995 were text rich, with small images and limited layouts. These designs are compatible with today's smart phones. Later more complex web page designs lost this compatibility, due to their complex designs and increased file sizes.

Also web based services need to be designed as services, not as marketing brochures. CSS features supported in modern web browsers allow for web 2.0 features, but organisations need to accept that their staff and their clients will want to be involved in decision making. Effort therefore need to be put into clear, detailed, information rich web sites.

Mobile Thinking

* What not to do: Big hard to read e-documents. (Consulting with Government online)
* What to do: accessible and mobile friendly (Online Consultation Guidelines)
* Don't intimidate with legalese: Government copyright notice
* Use open access: outdated, use Creative Commons
* Example: Public Sphere #2 – Government 2.0: Policy and Practice

Thinking about interaction with via a mobile device can help you think about how and what to communicate. The limitations in screen size and keyboard access force you to focus on the most important information first.

Some impediments to the use of the technology can be easily removed. As an example, in 2008 the Department of Finance and Deregulation issued a report on "Consulting with Government – online". This was a well reasoned exploration of the issues. However, the report was only issued as large, hard to read online PDF and RTF files.

The Online Consultation Guidelines from the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) are reasonably accessible and mobile friendly. The home page achieves a 80/100 score on the W3C mobileOK Checker. However, discussion of the document is still hampered by a Commonwealth Copyright Notice.

The Commonwealth Copyright notice used for web pages is essentially unchanged from the Department of Defence web copyright notice developed in 1995. The Australian Government should adopt the Australian Creative Commons Licence, or similar, to allow the free discussion of issues. Similarly, companies should check the licences they impose on information distributed. If you want your product details out there being discussed, don't make it hard.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sydney Bus Theatre

Poster for Stories from the 428Last night I attended "Stories from the 428" at the Sidetrack Theatre,, Sydney. The work is a series of vignettes on and around the NSW State Transit Authority, STA number 428 bus route. The route starts at Circular Quay, in the heart of Sydney and through Sydney's Newtown university student areas, then past the Sidetrack Theatre. The bus stops outside the Addison Road Centre, Marrickville where the performance was held and many of the audience were able to relate to the characters and situations portrayed (some of the characters being based on them).

The stage is set up to evoke a STA bus stop and bus (but will be familiar to any city commuter). The bills for the performance, program and cards are all cleverly designed with the same theme looking like Sydney bus tickets. The pay starts with a line of commuters wating for a bus and all reading the Metro free newspaper in synchronism. This opening reminded me of a recent production of short plays at the New Theatre, in its ballet of paper folding, as did the overall format of the production.

The vignettes are funny, insightful and in some cases confronting and frightening. One in which an obsessive character places rubber bands on his writs and describes in clinical detail the effect on his hand was very worrying. However, overall this is a warm celebration of community amongst the city.

This was week one of the show and in week two (until the 4th April, 2010) a new team of directors and writers take over exploring the same theme, so I might get back on the bus for another ride.

If attending a performance, take time to explore the Addison Road Centre,with its assortment of community and arts organisations. Also drop into Glow Worm Bicycles down the road.

You can take the 428 bus from Circular Quay to the Theatre. While the theatre pays homage to the bus, this is not reciprocated. When I tried to plan this route with the NSW travel planner, I found that the system did not know where the Addison centre was and when I tried the street address, the system wanted to send me to Goulburn, in southern NSW.

ps: Perhaps next we need some stories from Istanbul bus, tram, ferry, train to Thessaloniki. Sitting on a ferry heading under the Galata Bridge in Instanbul, the old man sitting next to me filled his chest with pride and swept his hand out in an expansive gesture to the view and said something in Turkish. I don't speak Turkish, but it was something like: "Look at My Magnificent City". In Thessaloniki, home to the original "Young Turks", plotters and spies, I happened to met an agent of a foreign government and take them for a ride on the local bus (while they were an expert international arms smuggling, they could not work out the local bus tickets).

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sydney Metro Website Still Available Online

Media reports indicate concern that the website of the abolished Sydney Metro Authority is no longer publicly available. However, it has been cached by Google (3 Feb 2010 01:06:28 GMT).

I suggest the NSW government adopt the practice of some federal departments and retain such web pages at their original address, but add a header to indicate the material was no longer current. This practice was adopted when there was the first change of government after adoption of the web by government (I recall the interdepartmental meeting where it was discussed). This practice is also followed by some US federal and state agencies.

Also the National Library of Australia might like to put a copy in their Pandora Archive.

Obviously details of a failed project which wasted hundreds of millions of dollars is an embarrassment to the NSW government, but attempting to suppress the information is unlikely to improve the situation.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

ONE hundred exhibition

The State Library of NSW has the free ONE hundred exhibition on until June 2010.This is for the centenary of the Mitchell Library. There will be something to interest everyone from a manuscript hand written by Capitan James Cook to the manuscript of Reedy River for the New Theatre production. This is not on the scale of the National Library of Australia's 2005 Treasures exhibition, but still worthwhile. Unfortunately the state library exhibition is hampeed by a poor quality web site, which lacks an index to the exhibits.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Glow Worm Bicycles

Maurice Wells, Managing Director, Glow Worm BicyclesLooking for the Addison Road Centre in Sydney on Friday, I noticed a group of people in a brightly lit shop with electric bicycles. This turned out to be the opening of Maurice Wells' Glow Worm Bicycles store. On display were a few different models of electric as well as pedal-only bicycles. Glow Worm claim to have the lightest electric bicycles in Australia, at 18kg. The lithium 36V 10Ah battery packs are in removable cartridges locked onto the bicycle frame with a key. You can remove the battery and carry it indoors by the built in handle, for charging.

On the bike I took for a brief test ride the battery is mounted vertically, low down behind the seat post (even more so on the "Lucky Legs" step through model). This helps with the balance, having the weight low down. However, it results in a more complex frame. Other models, such as the one in the photo with Maurice, have the battery horizontally under the carrier over the back wheel. This requires less engineering but results in more weight higher up.

The bikes have standard gears, brakes and other equipment. Apart from the battery at the back, there is an electric motor mounted in the oversize hub of the front wheel, and a throttle lever next to the left handgrip. It only takes a few seconds to get used to controlling the motor speed. The hard part is remembering to pedal, rather than just let the electric motor carry you along. Claims performance is 25km/h and a range of 20-50km.

Maurice said there was also a folding electric model available, but not on display. Other options include solar charging.

At the launch I met Jerry Desousa, CEO, Timor Air, (flag carrier airline of East Timor) who pased Maurice's skills as an alternatvie energy technology engineer, installing solar systems in East Timor (Timor-Leste).

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Simple web pages are best

Electric bicycle foldabe 20 inch
Had a message from Electric Velocity, who sell electric bicycles in Sydney, to say that they had changed their web pages top ASP. I blogged their electric folding bicycle after seeing it at the Balmain Markets. They commented that they get a lot of referrals from my blog posting, so could I fix the link?

I get such a query every week or two from companies and government agencies. They ask why my plain postings are so popular, when they have invested in Flash, ASP and other technologies and they regularly update their web site. I have to explain to them my postings are popular because I don't use Flash, ASP and don't delect web pages. I use plain ordinary HTML and leave the web pages where they were. As a result the pages are easy for a search engine and a human reader to find and read.

In the case of Velocity their new home page has 15 Errors, 2 warning(s) on a HTML Validation test. W3C mobileOK Checker reports "This page is not mobile-friendly!". A TAW accessibility test reports: 3 Priority 1, 62 Priority 2, 11 Priority 3 problems. Fixing these problems would make their web site more usable. Link

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Sydney Metropolitan Transport Plan

The NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, yesterday released a Metropolitan Transport Plan. This is in line with my submission on the Sydney CBD Metro. The new strategy abandons the plan for an automated underground Metro by the previous NSW Premier and the highly centralised CBD land use plan it implied. The reinstated older plan is for heavy surface railways between several economic centres and the use of freeways, supplemented by light rail and bus-ways for the urban areas between them. This new (old) plan reinstates the "Cities of Cities" plan and the North West Rail link.

This is an improvement on the Metro plan which was unworkable, but places too much emphasis on the use of private cars for transport. The NSW government needs to accept that there must be large investment in public transport and that building roads is no solution. However, the major problem is not with the new plan, but with the lack of credibility the NSW government has in implementing any transport plan, having changed plans, and Premiers, several times in the last few years.

The plan makes mention of the use of ICT for transport in using GPS for prioritise traffic lights for buses and in integrated ticketing systems. However, more use of ICT could make the new plan more workable. As an example, ICT can be used to provide the commuter with better information about services.

Available are:
  1. Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.
  2. Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010
  3. $6.7 billion North West Rail Link, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally,(42 kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  4. New $4.53 billion Western Express CityRail Service, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (59 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
  5. 1,000 new buses means more services and less cars on the road, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally (45 Kbytes PDF), 21 February, 2010
Minister for Transport AND Roads 4
Minister for Planning 4
Challenges and Vision 5
Meeting the demands of a growing city and a changing population
SYDNEY TO 2036 11
SYDNEY TO 2020 13
Where we are now 17
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
Our New Approach to Transport 23
and Land Use Planning
Supporting our Cities and Centres
Urban Renewal 26
We will grow the cities within Syd ney 27
The 10–year funding guarantee 28
Integrating Transport and Land Use Planning
New Express Rail Services for Western Syd ney 30
An expanded light rail network 32
Rail to match the demands of growth 34
Better Bus Connections 36
Getting Syd ney Moving 38
Syd ney’s Iconic Ferries 39
Increasing the efficiency of the road network 40
Key Freight Projects 41
A Better Customer Experience 42
Planning the Future Transport Network 43
Next Steps 44

From: Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities, (19 Mbytes, 48 Pages, PDF), 21 February, 2010

February 21, 2010
Premier Kristina Keneally today released the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities.

It focuses on slashing travel times for western Sydney commuters, a North West rail link, an expansion of light rail, more commuter car parks, new ferries, air conditioned buses and trains.

It is a 25-year vision for land use planning for Sydney and a 10-year fully funded package of transport infrastructure for the Sydney metropolitan area and will deliver benefits for the Illawarra, Central Coast and Hunter.

Over 10 years, the plan comprises $50.2 billion in spending; of that, there is more than $7 billion in new or expanded transport infrastructure and services.

The plan is backed up by a 10-year funding guarantee and is consistent with maintaining the State’s AAA credit rating and delivering value for money for the NSW taxpayer.

This is the first time that land use and transport planning have been integrated into a single, funded plan.

Under the plan, Transport and Planning Ministers would jointly approve major transport infrastructure, ensuring Sydney’s transport needs are matched to growth. In addition, significant land use decisions will be made by both ministers.

Ms Keneally made the announcement following a specially convened State Cabinet meeting in Sydney today.

The NSW Cabinet decided to:
  • Stop work on the $5 billion Stage 1 CBD Metro;
  • Reallocate resources and funding to a range of other projects and transport plans over the next 10 years;
  • Move swiftly to support the tenderers for the major construction contracts affected by the decision to stop the CBD Metro – saying they would be reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred; and
  • Put processes in place to assist property owners and tenants who have incurred legal, valuation and other costs relating to property acquisition.
“We’ve listened to the community and made a tough decision,” Ms Keneally said.
“This is about re-allocating spending to where it is needed. Sydney is no longer one city.
“Sydney is a series of regional cities – Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith – and accessible centres like Blacktown, Chatswood and Bondi Junction.
“This is about responding to the challenges of Sydney’s growing population.”
By 2036, Sydney is expected to grow by 1.7 million to a population of 5.98 million.
“The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities is about getting people home from work as quick as possible. By 2016, 28 per cent of all trips to work will be taken by public transport.”
The Premier’s Plan – the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities – includes:
  • The $4.5 billion Western Express CityRail Service – a separate dedicated rail track to slash travelling times from western Sydney to the city. It will achieve faster and more frequent services with a goal of up to 50 per cent more services and 17 per cent more passengers on the CityRail network on an average weekday. This will occur through:
    • o Separating a dedicated track from all other traffic;
    • o Construction of a new five kilometre priority tunnel –City Relief Line – will be built from 2015 in the city to separate western services from inner-city trains to provide shorter journey times;
    • o Construction of eight new platforms to increase capacity at Redfern, Central, Town Hall and Wynyard to relieve congestion;
    • o New express train services will be introduced for the Blue Mountains, Richmond, Penrith, Blacktown and Parramatta; and
    • o Increase CityRail’s capacity on all lines and allow the introduction of express rail services to western Sydney.
  • Start of work on the $6.7 billion North West rail link from Epping to Rouse Hill with six stations at Franklin Road, Castle Hill, Hills Centre, Norwest, Burns Road and Rouse Hill in 2017;
  • A $500 million expansion of the current light rail system – bringing its total length to 16.9 kilometres with up to 20 new stations and almost 10 kilometres of new track – a more than doubling of the distance of the existing route. The $500 million comprises:
  • Road works and infrastructure;
  • 4.1 kilometres of light rail from Circular Quay via Barangaroo to Haymarket; and
  • 5.6 kilometres of light rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill.
  • Improvements to bus services – costing $2.9 billion – which includes:
    • o Roll out of 1,000 new buses in Strategic Bus Corridors in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast;
    • o Bus priority measures such as GPS traffic light priority; and
    • o New STA and private bus depots.
    • Over the next 10 years, $3.1 billion for new trains and this is in addition to the 626 carriages on order;
  • Creation of the new Sydney Metropolitan Development Authority to drive future transit-oriented development and urban renewal. Authority will be similar to the highly successful Redfern Waterloo Authority and Barangaroo Delivery Authority. It will be responsible for implementing the integrated metropolitan land use strategy and will report to the Minister for Roads and Transport and the Minister for Planning with its own board with a Federal Government representative.);
  • A number of other transport related measures including:
  • o $158 million in cycleways – completing many of the city’s high priority missing links;
  • o More than $400 million in commuter car parks; and
  • o $57 million Commuter Infrastructure Fund for local transport partnerships – such as improved and easy access for people with disabilities and more awnings and shelters at rail stations;
  • $225 million over 10 years for Sydney ferries, including six vessels;
  • $536 million for motorway planning, transit corridor reservations and land acquisition for future projects;
  • $483 million from State and Federal Governments to deliver important freight works in Sydney, including a NSW Freight Plan to increase productivity and secure jobs;
  • State Government will continue to deliver $21.9 billion of joint State and Federal funded road projects; and
  • An historic partnership with the City of Sydney to develop a memorandum of understanding on public transport; movement on laneways and streets and planning issues such as pedestrian friendly areas and civic spaces.

  • To ensure that future State and Federal governments are still able to build high capacity public transport if and when they are needed, corridors and planning approvals will continue to be secured, such as metros.
    The Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities builds on the MyZone announcement on February 1.

    MyZone is a new fare structure and multi-modal system for greater Sydney to make using public transport fairer, simpler and cheaper. It is scheduled to commence on April 18.
    The new fare structure applies across the entire CityRail, State Transit, Sydney Ferries and private bus networks in the greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Central Coast and the Hunter.


    The NSW Government wants to know what the community thinks about the initiatives outlined in the Metropolitan Transport Plan: Connecting the City of Cities plan.
    The NSW Government will simultaneously undertake the first five year review of the Metropolitan Strategy.
    Submissions and comments can be lodged at:
    Once the review of both documents has been completed, all feedback will be consolidated into a Metropolitan Plan to link our transport and land use planning.

    From: Transport Plan for Sydney, Media Release, Premier Kristina Keneally, (65 Kbytes PDF), attributed to Walter Secord, 21 February 2010.

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    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    Leichardt Climate Change Taskforce

    The Leichardt Council in Sydney has formed a Climate Change Taskforce and aims to carbon neutral by 2012. There are two strategies being prepared: one for the council itself and one for the community. Meetings are held every two months, with the community invited (agenda and minutes are online).

    The meetings are not well attended, with only six community members attending the last meeting in November 2009. I have suggested to Mayor of Leichhardt Jamie Parker (Greens) that the Council invite input online for those who can't attend in person. It would also help if the council replaced its hard to read PDF agenda and minutes with web pages. This would also reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the documents. It would also make the information more widely avialable and promote what Leichardt is doing. A good model is the Green Technology Advisory Group for the town of Westborough, in Massachusetts, USA.

    Climate Change Taskforce

    Council has formed a Climate Change Taskforce to investigate:

    • The policies and actions required for the Council to become carbon neutral by 2012 with an emphasis on carbon reductions and enhanced ecological sustainability; and
    • To develop a program of actions that will reduce the carbon footprint of the community by addressing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, education and engagement with the wider community, and lobbying and advocacy.

    The Climate Change Taskforce - Corporate Strategy and Community Strategy meet bi-monthly on the 1st Wednesday of the month commencing in March.

    The Corporate Strategy meeting is held from 6pm - 7pm and the Community Strategy meeting is held from 7pm - 8pm in the Leichhardt Town Hall Supper Room. The community is welcome to attend the Community Strategy session.


    Climate Change November Agenda Community (127.02kB)Climate Change November Minutes Community (281.79kB)
    Climate Change November Agenda Corporate (673.06kB)Climate Change November Minutes Corporate (126.19kB)
    Climate Change September Agenda Community (391.75kB)Climate Change September Minutes Community (25.20kB)
    Climate Change September Agenda Corporate (694.48kB)Climate Change September Minutes Corporate (49.61kB)
    Climate Change July Agenda Community (134.67kB)Climate Change July Minutes Community (187.71kB)
    Climate Change July Agenda Corporate (182.74kB)Climate Change July Minutes Corporate (23.38kB)
    Climate Change May Agenda (60.00kB)Climate Change May Minutes (236.98kB)
    Climate Change Taskforce March Agenda (29.24kB)Climate Change Taskforce March Minutes (33.66kB)

    From: Climate Change Taskforce , Leichardt Council, 2009

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    Tuesday, February 02, 2010

    Bus rapid transit for Sydney

    The NSW government is reported to be rethinking plans for the Sydney Metro. One option would be to expand the current Metrobus into a bus rapid transit system. This could use bi-articulated as now being trialled in Brisbane. This could also make use of the simplified MyZone system, announced recently.

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    Monday, February 01, 2010

    Sydney Metro Alternatives

    I still can't work out exactly what Sydney Metro's response to my submission (and others) on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans was, despite an email, with a letter they had already sent me (appended).

    The email did not say anything new, but on re-reading this I noticed mention of: "Table 5 in Appendix D for a reference list". It did not say what this was appendix D of, but I guessed it was "06 Submissions Report - Appendix D". On the last page of this document (page 28) I found a line in a table which said: 4.11
    4.16 2536 4.6. I assume this indicates that submission 2536 is covered by sections 4.6, 4.11 and 4.16 of the report. Why these details are listed in this order is not clear. This is about as easy as a numerological analysis of a biblical text. I was able to find "4.6 CBD Metro – the first stage", but the report does not appear to have a section 4.11 or 4.16, as it ends at 4.7.

    One interesting part of this document is the table which indicates that the most frequently raised issue is alternatives to the Metro.

    Table 2: Most frequently raised issues (unique submissions*)
    * Excluding government stakeholders
    1Alternatives to the metro project 4.6263
    2General business impacts (construction)4.64126
    3Project cost4.9120
    4Need for an integrated transport plan for Sydney4.11118
    5Justification for the project4.7117
    6Socio-economic issues at Rozelle4.6899
    7Project route and alignment4.1273
    8Metro network4.1072
    9Project design4.1770
    10Excessive noise and vibration4.4162

    Text of letter from Sydney metro:


    Level 19, 321 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
    PO Box Q286, QVB Post Office NSW 1230
    T 02 8238 2700 F 02 8238 2797

    Mr Tom Worthington
    1 February 2010

    Submissions Report for Sydney Metro Network Stage 1 (Rozelle to Central)

    Dear Mr Worthington

    Thank you for your submission on the Environmental Assessment for Stage 1 of the Sydney Metro Network (Rozelle to Central).

    As part of the project assessment process, Sydney Metro has prepared a Submissions Report detailing the issues raised in submissions and our response to each issue.

    Your submission was registered as submission number 2536 and our response to the issues raised in your submission can be found in this report. (See Table 5 in Appendix D for a reference list.)

    The Submissions Report outlines some changes made to the project as a result of our consideration of the submissions received and additional design information. We have also updated our Statement of Commitments which includes a number of new initiatives, such as purchasing 100 per cent renewable energy to operate the metro.

    Sydney Metro has lodged the Submissions Report with the NSW Department of Planning for consideration as part of the project assessment process. The report is now available on the NSW Department of Planning website ( – go to the Major Project Register in the Development Assessments section of the website). A link to the Submissions Report is also available from the Sydney Metro website (

    Pending approval of the project, construction works are scheduled to start in mid 2010. We will continue to keep the public informed of progress through our website, community newsletters and media announcements.

    Please do not hesitate to call 1800 636 910 if you have any questions or need more information about the submissions process.

    We look forward to working with you to develop this essential public transport system for Sydney.

    Rodd Staples
    Acting Chief Executive

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    Sydney Metro Response to Submissions

    Last October I wrote a brief submission on the Environmental Assessment and the Station Plans for the proposed Sydney CBD Metro. Today I received a paper letter (dated 15 January 2010, but postmarked five days later on 20 January 2010). The letter says that a response to the issues I raised is in a "Submissions Report" available on the web, unfortunately I have not been able to find that response.

    The letter does not give the web address of the report. It gives the home page of the NSW Department of Planning and of Sydney Metro. I was unable to find the document navigating from these home pages. I tried telephoning Sydney Metro, but got an answering service, which took a message, but so far no one has rung back.

    Eventually I found a web page "Project Application - CBD Metro - Assessment" which has"Response to Submissions" which might be what the letter was referring to. However, that then links to ten PDF documents, the titles of which do not match those of the documents I was commenting on (Environmental Assessment and Station Plans). These documents are about 40 Mbytes in total. It is not reasonable to have to search through 4,000 pages of material looking for a response to my submission. It would be quite simple for Sydney Metro to electronically mark which bits of the report refer to specific submissions, or at least point to the most relevant section.

    I attempted to find mention of my submission by searching the documents using a web search, but was unable to find either my name, nor the reference number allocated to the submission: 2536.

    In its judgement "Muin v Refugee Review Tribunal; Lie v Refugee Review Tribunal" (8 August 2002) the High Court of Australia found that a government agency could not merely make "documents" available in a mass of undifferentiated material, it was necessary to provide some form of identification of the specific relevant material.

    In my view Sydney Metro has not provided a response to the submission, or to any submission, as there is no way to find references to submissions in the thousands of pages of material. Sydney Metro has therefore no complied with NSW planning law.

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    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Bicycling the Sydney Light Rail Extension

    View Leichhardt to the Cooks River by Cycle in a larger mapIt has been proposed to extend the existing inner Sydney light rail line 5.6 km to Dulwich Hill along the old Rozelle Freight Line. Some Greenway proposals envisage the space being used for a cycle and walkway, rather than a tram line. On Sunday I folding bicycle along the route from Marion Street, Leichardt to Dulwich Hill, using the directions in "Cycling Around Sydney - 30 of the Best Rides in Sydney" (Bruce Ashley, 2007).

    The first half kilometre is a pleasant ride between the Hawthorne Canal and the embankment of the rail line, in some places through a tunnel of green. There are pedestrian underpasses allowing access to the cycle track at several points, including adjacent to the Artest. Art School. At Parramatta Road it is necessary to leave the green path and cross the very busy road and corss the bridge to the western bank of the canal. The path then continues south to Grosvenor Crescent. AT this point you can see the remaining span of the Whipple truss bridge over Long Cove Creek (1886). There is an Institution of Engineers Australia historic engineering marker on the nearby railway viaduct (unfortunately the marker is slightly crooked, not in keeping with the IE Aust standards). At this point there is no bicycle or pedestrian access along the river or rail line.

    In my view the best option would be to use the route for trams and, where possible, accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The goods line can be converted to a tram line at little cost, compared to the proposed Sydney Metro.

    See also "Leichhardt to Cooks River by folding Bicycle", in Travel Journal

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    Monday, January 04, 2010

    Newington Armory Heritage Railway

    Newington Armory Heritage TrainA hidden gem for railway enthusiasts in Sydney is the Newington Armory Heritage Railway. This is a 610mm, two foot gauge network used to transport munitions around the former Newington Arms Depot. It may be a surprise to learn the New South Wales Government owns this battery electric train with articulated passenger carriages.

    Gemco Locomotive BatteriesThe tacks were laid in 1909, with carts originally pushed by hand. Battery powered electric locomotives were introduced in 1940. The GEMCO George Moss and Co locomotive used to pull the tourist train around 7.6 km of track was built in 1963. The tour starts near the former gateway to the complex (which is the ticket office). It travels past what is now the armoury theatre (with the Sydney Olympic Park Lodge YMCA visible up the hill), past what are now artists studios and the Birds Australia Discovery Centre. The train then enters an area restricted to the public, stopping at several points to view the buildings used to store material.

    Locomotive couplingArticulated Wagon CouplingOrdnance wagons have been converted into passenger carriages, with seats, roofs and doors. The wagons are unusual in being articulated. Conventional couplings are used to the locomotives, with one at each end in a push-pull arrangement. As the tour guide kept emphasising, this is a real railway, which is required to meet railway safety standards.

    Track to munitions buildingThe standard tourist trip lasts one hour and covers the Royal Australian Navy section of the former arms depot. This includes a section off limits to the public. This does not include the section built to US specifications in WW2 by SeaBees for the US Navy (in use until 1946).

    Armoury DisplayThe highlight of the tour is when the train travels through the centre of one of the buildings and an array of bombs, shells, torpedoes, guided missiles and military shields are briefly glimpsed. The train the stops allowing the passengers to get out and inspect the display. What is emphasised is that these are not facsimiles, but real weapons made safe by removing the explosives. As well as assorted naval shells are Sea Cat anti-aircraft missiles, Harpoon cruse missiles, air launched and submarine torpedoes and the Australian developed Ikara anti-submarine missile, complete with acoustic homing torpedo.

    Concrete stores lighters (barges) were unloaded on the wharf near the present day Armoury Warf Cafe. The armoury was set up in 1897 for the Royal Navy and closed in 1999.

    One of the stranger sights on the tour is a party on two wheel Segway battery vehicles. But this fits with the history of the site, which had "Electromobiles" (battery powered vehicles), with petrol powered vehicles banned due to risk of explosions. The usual mode of transport for most staff was by foot or bicycle.

    The wetlands next to the armoury are permanently closed to the public due to the presence of unexploded ordnance.

    For a more detailed travelogue, see: Travel: Newington Armament Depot, Homebush NSW.

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    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    Newington Armory Arts Precinct

    Newington Armory, formerly a RAN Armament Depot is now a riverside park and arts precinct near Olympic Park in Sydney. Unfortunately it is difficult to find details of what is on there. The Olympic Park web site mentions a "Heritage Railway Discovery Tour" and a "Sydney Olympic Park Lodge" (a YMCA) but the links for these do not work from the Armory page. It appears the site can only be visited on foot or bike between 10am and 4pm on Sundays. There is also the Armoury Warf Cafe, which is not mentioned on the Olympic Park web page, but appears to be open every day (and for dinner Friday and Saturday). Currently on display is "Art with Altitude".

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    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    Insulating Paint Additive

    Last week I purchased a packet of "Thermilate" insulating paint additive. This cost AU$43.64 from The Natural Pain Place in Newton Sydney. The packet holds about one litre of white power and is intended to be added to four litres of paint. The power consists of what are claimed to be small hollow ceramic spheres, which contain a partial vacuum and therefore have a high insulation value. The effectiveness of this material for insulation has been called into question, but my intention was to try using the reflective properties of the material for a projection screen painted onto a wall. This was after the failure of my attempt using White Knight "Reflect-All" light reflective paint.

    However, Christmas intervened before I could try the paint as a screen. I had far more of the paint additive than needed for tests. There was a small concrete deck to be painted before a Christmas party, and the additive was gritty, so I used some of it as a non-slip additive for the deck paint.

    The material has a chalky texture and I was worried it would not mix well with the oil based heavy duty deck paint I was using. But it mixed in easily. The resulting paint was of a different consistency with the grit clearly visible in the paint.

    The paint when on well using an ordinary roller. However, when it dried there were white chalky streaks visible in the high gloss dark green paint, showing the individual roller marks. Also the paint was a noticeably lighter colour that the original. The paint also had a slight white sheen, which was not really wanted for a deck, but indicates it may work well for a projections screen.

    I found that by using a cross hatch pattern with the roller for a second coat, I was able to get an acceptable finish with the paint. The white chalky patches were still visible, but broken up in a random pattern were aesthetically pleasing on the slightly rough finish of the concrete deck. Glossy dark green paint must be about the hardest to hide the white additive in and, if used with typical a semi-mat off white paint, the additive should not be visible.

    The additive provided a very good non-slip surface and is comparable in price to the grit additives sold for paint. The surface felt less cold than untreated paint on the same concrete, suggesting that the additive has some insulating effect.

    The insulation claims for the material appear excessive and not credible. However, tere have been some independent tests which suggest some value for the material. Assuming the packet contains 1 litre of power, dispersed in 4 litres of paint this would cover about 10 square metres of wall (assuming two coats), forming a layer about 0.1 mm thick. The spheres would have to have exceptional insulating properties for a layer this thin to have a insulating value comparable to conventional insulation, which is hundreds of times thicker.

    However, in situations where no conventional insulation can be installed, the paint may have some value, as discussed in Paul Teather's 2004 thesis: "A study of Ceramic Microsphere Insulation with a consideration of the wider implications". Applying insulation is a complex business, whereas adding the powder to paint is not. As an example if there is an uninsulated solid brick or concrete wall, any insulation would be better than none. However, it is not clear if this additive is much more effective than just a thicker layer of paint.

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    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Rail and broadband in place of second Sydney airport

    A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. This is not a new or unexplored idea, from a high speed rail line proposed in 1981, to a "East Coast Very High Speed Train Scoping Study" in 2008. But the mass production of very high speed trains in Asia, combined with advances in broadband and environmental pressures, makes it more feasible.

    The Federal and New South Wales Governments are to conduct a joint study of options for additional airport capacity for Sydney. This follows a "National Aviation Policy White Paper" (16 December 2009). It should be noted that the paper is not just talking about an airport and mentions rail transport systems. I suggest that the study should look at a train in place of a second Sydney airport. A very high speed train from Sydney, through Canberra, to Melbourne would replace about 75% of flights on one of the worlds busiest air corridors. Provision of wireless broadband on the train would allow the passengers to do useful work and be entertained. In addition to passengers, a high speed train can also carry high high value freight, such as priority mail, currently sent by air.

    Sydney airport already has two underground stations in place and a direct underground line to the Sydney CBD. Work would be needed on the rail corridor out of Sydney, but this is relatively minor, with work already underway for a rail freight corridor.

    Very fast trains are now a proven technology, with China and Korea mass producing adaptions of proven European designs.

    The cost of the line from Sydney to Melbourne could be covered by the sale of land in new greenfield environmentally efficient towns in inland Australia. These towns would also reduce the growth pressure on Sydney (politically the new towns would be attractive to the current NSW and Federal governments as it would shift the voting trends to the ALP in previously conservative rural electorates). Integration of the National Broadband Network in the new towns would allow rapid provision of services and jobs to the new towns and reduce the cost of infrastructure.

    New towns could be built along the VFT route incorporating high environmental and planning standards. Buildings could be designed to use the minimum of water and power, then assembled from mass produced modules. Homes could be designed to accommodate the elderly. Broadband could bring jobs, education and services to the towns quickly. Both government and commercial telecommuting offices could be provided allowing office works to telecommute most days and perhaps have to catch the train only once every few weeks. Each town could have a university campus, as well as a hospital with advanced medical facilities, linked by broadband to specalists.

    The pressure on Sydney airport will also be reduced in coming years due to changes in the aircraft used and environmental pressures. The introduction of larger aircraft, specifically the Airbus A380, will reduce the number of international aircraft movements needed. Added to this the Boeing 787 (and Airbus A350) will allow more direct international flights from other Australian airports, reducing the need for Sydney to act as a hub. Added to this, the need for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will increase pressure on airlines to have aircraft loaded to capacity to increase fuel efficiency. The requirement for passengers to pay the environmental cost of their travel will also dampen demand for flights.
    Sydney is Australia’s biggest and busiest city and Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport is Australia’s busiest airport, with over 32 million passengers in 2008–09. To ensure the future aviation needs of Sydney meet the expectations of the community and are fully integrated into long-term growth strategies, the Government, in partnership with the New South Wales Government, will work together to plan for the Sydney region’s future airport infrastructure, including how it links to Sydney’s growth centres and its road and rail transport systems. This is the first time that the two governments are aligning their planning and investment strategies. ...

    From: National Aviation Policy White Paper, Department of Infrastructure,Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, 16 December 2009

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    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Freeview and barbers

    Saw a familiar face on TV just now. The latest Freeview advertising "more for me" features Enrico the barber of Annandale. He is something of a I was sitting in there when summoned to Samoa). and others mention him in their travelogues. Freeview seem to have difficulty comming to grips with mdia in the 21st century. Their media release for this new advertising campaign includes a web address, user id (moreforme) and password (launch09) of where to get a copy. It seems to have escaped their attention that they could simply put a copy on a service such as YouTibe, but then, if they did that why would we need digital broadcast TV?

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    Tales of a Sydney Summer Evening

    The NSW Writers' Centre was the venue for the filmmakers of Sydney to assemble for Christmas drinks last Friday night. Somehow I received an invitation as one of the Twiteraity. The centre is located in the grounds of the former Rozelle Hospital, is a sandstone building. There are beautiful grounds with flowering trees, a veranda perfect for drinks on a warm summer's night and book lined rooms. Part of the site is occupied by the Sydney College of the Arts.

    It was easy to tell who were the budding actors: the younger more stylishly dressed with business cards ready at hand (one I met was a part time property speculator, who having finished their NIDA course had one a scholarship to the NY Actors School at LA). It was more difficult to tell the editors from directors and writers. People would come up with a mindful of ham and a glass or Rose and say "are you a director or editor"? It was too difficult to explain I was a computer programmer, so I settled for saying "Writer: my latest book was released last week at an event with the Prime Minister", which stuck the right tone.

    After confessing to doing web design I was asked for advice by a media PR person. I confused them by recommending they get a blog, as their target audience are journalists who have no interest in pretty layout,: they just want text. I had to explain that I did useful web sites, designed to communicate information, unlike those used in the creative industries (as an example the style over substance web site of the Australian Directors Guild with markup errors, accessibility problems and incrorrectly sized images). Only later did I realise ADG was one of the hosts of the party (it would be very difficult to work this out from their web site, or discover anything at all from their web site). As well as ADG, also hosting were Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC), Australian Screen Editors Guild (ASE), Australian Screen Sound Guild (ASSG) and Women in Film and Television NSW (WIFT) and the all have much better web sites than ADG.

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    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel

    Terrace Sydney Harbour YHAThe Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel at the Rocks opened last week. I visited yesterday and was given a tour by John Bowles, YHA NSW director and met Yin Chen, General Secretary of China YHA . Do not be put off by the label "Youth Hostel"; this is accommodation to a similar standard to the best budget hotels, but with million dollar views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House from its rooftop terrace. If visiting Sydney you should check if there is a room at the hostel.

    Screen around the Big Dig Archaeology Education CentreSydney Harbour YHAThe hostel is a project with the Sydney Harbour Foreshores authority and incorporates the
    Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre. The hostel building is on high columns over the remains of historical convict era building. This arrangement resembles the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. However, the YHA was built on time and mostly on budget, unlike the Athens museum which was years late and billions over budget.

    The YHA building has a steel frame and ribbed steel sheeting on some surfaces. The outer walls are clad in terracotta coloured panels, which give it an up market look. There are hard wearing by but stylish materials used, such as cork for the floors in the reception area and stainless steel kitehens. The design philosophy of the building was featured on ABC Radio "New 21st century youth hostel accommodation" (2 December 2009). The architects are Tzannes Associates. Unfortunately, like many architects, they have a very poor quality web site and I was unable to find any details of the building.

    Atrium Sydney Harbour YHAJohn Bowles and Yin ChenThe archaeology below and next to the building is protected by a perforated metal screen. The claim is that this has been sized and decorated to echo the terrace buildings which were on the site. To me they looked oversize and intrusive. It would be too late to change the design, but the screens could be repainted from white to a less conspicuous colour, perhaps with a photo mural of terrace houses on them.

    The ground floor of the building is open to the archaeology site, with walkways from the street and to the education centre, which has an exellent small meeting room which can be hired. Walking up a flight of stairs you reach the reception desk of the YHA, which also looks out onto a cyber cafe and the DIY kitchen and eating area. This is a much more open and comfortable arrangement than YHAs in converted buildings, where the kitchen is usually hidden in the basement. One wall of the reception area is glass, looking out onto the atrium. You can order an espresso from reception (or make your own coffee in the kitchen) and then sit down and watch people go past, up and down the stairs.

    The walkways for the rooms around the atrium are open to the air, which gives the building a seaside feeling. However, this is a little too open for me and I would have liked to see chest height glass partitions to give more of a sense of security. All share and double rooms have their own bathrooms, as well as extra common bathrooms. The rooftop terrace is accessed via a card swipe lock.

    The terrace is the highlight of the building. This reminded me very much of the rooftop cafes of the hostels of Istanbul. To one side is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, directly out is the Sydney Opera House (feeling so close you could reach out and touch it) and to the other side the sykline of the Sydney CBD. Below are the historic buildings of the Rocks. At present the terrace looks a little bare and exposed. There is a BBQ at one end and a few sun lounges. But it needs to accumulate some more furniture and perhaps a cafe. It was a little windy during my visit and a glass chest high screen around the outside would be a welcome addition. At present the terrace must be closed at 9:30pm most nights, due to possible noise for the neighbours. A glass screen would block most of the noise and should allow later access, as well as making it more comfortable.

    Artist Impression of Laurus Wing, Ursula Hall, ANUYHA should build more of these style hostels. They might like to talk to
    Quicksmart Homes, who have built student apartment buildings from shipping container modules at the Austrlaian National Unviertsity and Sydney University. 3D rendering of a modular apartment at Laurus Wing, Ursula Hall, ANU by Quicksmart HomesThis would suit sites with limited access for building. Simple steel foundations could be placed and then the modules dropped in by crane (or in difficult locations by helicopter).

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    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Startups in Sydney

    Greetings from "Startup BarCamp Sydney" at the Australian Technology Park as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009. I volunteered to talk on "Innovating to lower costs and carbon emissions with ICT" at 12:30pm. But I broadened this to talk about the process Innovation ACT uses to teach entrepreneurship to students at the Australian National University and University of Canberra and ended up with "Entrepreneurs for climate change mitigation".

    The BarCamp is being held in the Innovation Centre at the ATP. For me this is a bit like coming home. In 1998 I used the ATP as an example of how technology innovation should be done in Australia. This was meant to be just an example, but the government appeared to take this advice literally and set up the National ICT Centre of Excellence (NICTA) in the building. I was last here for the CSIRO ICT Centre conference two weeks ago. What I didn't realise is that the ATP is home to ATP Innovations, which is part owned by the ANU.

    This Bar Camp has a wider range of participant than BarCamp Canberra, which was focused on web and government. At this event there is one delegate is selling coconuts (for eating and drinking) and another solar thermal power stations.

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    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Startup BarCamp Sydney

    "Startup BarCamp Sydney" is being held 21 November 2009 at the Australian Technology Park for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009. I have volinteered to talk on "Innovating to lower costs and carbon emissions with ICT", which I talked to Innovation ACT about a few monts ago . For those not familiar with the BarCamp format, it can be a bit bewildering. In addition to the celibrity speakers, anyone can present. The rohbust audince participation can also be a bit confronting. The event is free, funded by the sponsors. To participate you edit the home page to add your details and proposed topic. This can see a bit like the Merry Pranksters meet the Calfornian Business Assocation.

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    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Eco-Annandale 2010 Exhibition

    glass sculptureThe Eco-Annandale 2010 Exhibition runs 6 December 2009 to 30 January 2010 at the Leichhardt Library in Sydney.
    Eco-Annandale 2010 Exhibition
    6 December 2009 to 30 January 2010
    Leichhardt Library, Piazza Level, Italian Forum 23 Norton St, Leichhardt

    Monday-Friday:9.30am-8pm Saturday:9.30am-4pm Sunday:10am-4pm
    • Night Market: 5.30-7.30pm Wednesday 9th December 2009.
    • Night Market: 5.30-7.30pm Wednesday 16th December 2009.

    Forestry and farming in the 18th and 19th Centuries, followed by residential and industry development denuded Annandale of most of its Local Provenance vegetation.

    However, since 1995 a dedicated group of locals, who form the Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery have propagated and reintroduced some of the plants which would have thrived in Annandale in earlier times. As a result of the reintroduction of this local provenance vegetation, native birds and animals which rely on these plants for food have followed. Insects, lizards and birds that feed on the lizards, insects and plants have established themselves in Annandale and provide the diversity of sounds in the dawn chorus.

    A diversity of plants and animals provides security for food and air quality in an era of climate change. The diversity of species and genetic material means that particular plants may survive and others will die under new conditions. These plants enrich and secure the soil, filter the air we breathe and transpire the water that falls as rain in our dams and on our crops. The wider the range of plants the greater the chance is that there will be some which will thrive in new climatic conditions.

    Plants absorb CO2 in the process of photosynthesis and are a natural Carbon Sink, making them an important in reducing Global Warming.

    Plants such as Mangroves stabilize foreshores and mountainsides and protect against erosion and landslides, making them critical to mitigating the effects of rising sea levels due to Climate Change.

    The focus of works in the Eco-Annandale 2010 exhibition (December 2009 and January 2010) will be Annandale's biodiversity. Entry to the exhibition is Free.

    Marghanita da Cruz, Curator of Eco-Annandale.

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    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    Last Hunter Baillie Spring Concert

    Hunter Baillie Spring Festival Concert  drinksThe last of the Hunter Baillie Spring Festival Concert Series is
    Sunday, 22 November 2009 with The Song Company under the direction of Roland Peelman.Vocal music from the ensemble's eclectic repertoire will include Benjamin Britten's Hymn to St Cecilia. Britten was born on St. Cecilia's Day, 22 November (the day of the concert). There are free pre-concert drinks under the trees and a $5 post concert afternoon tea in the church hall.

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    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Sustainability In The Pub Sydney

    Sydney Environmental Educators Network is holding "Sustainability In The Pub", in Sydney, 21 October, 6.30pm. These are fun events.
    The Sydney Environmental Educators Network invites you to join us for Sustainability In The Pub in October - an evening of ideas, discussion and sharing for environmental educators.

    Wednesday 21 October, 6.30pm start.


    Agincourt Hotel, cnr George and Harris Street Sydney.
    FREE, No RSVP required.

    "Choice, Imagination and Sustainability"

    We all know that climate change is probably the biggest threat to mankind ever, but often trying to change people's thinking and behaviour creates the opposite effect.

    How do we avoid the self righteous, evangelistic approach?
    How do we influence people without being didactic?
    How do we tap into people's deeper needs and aspirations?

    In this discussion with two innovative environmental educators, Thor Blomfield and Kylee Ingram explore creative approaches to a more sustainable future.

    Thor Blomfield co-founded Leapfish Environmental Education 6 years ago and since has created a range of effective arts based programs. Kylee Ingram established Australian Documentaries 7 years ago which partners with NGOs and the government sector to create media for sustainability and positive change.

    Kind regards,


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    Friday, October 16, 2009

    From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy

    The slides from "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover" at The University of Sydney, 15 October 2009 are available from Hans Mönninghoff's web site. Unfortunately they are 3 Mbytes of Powerpoint. Here is the text:

    From Sustainable Development to a Low Carbon Strategy on a local level

    (and how to combine environment and economy)

    The example of the City of Hannover (Germany)

    Hans Mönninghoff
    • since 1989 Head of the City of Hannover Directorate of Environmental Affairs
    • since 1997 also Deputy to the Lord Mayor in his function as Chief Executive
    • since 2005 also Head of Directorate of Economic Affairs
    • until 2013 re-elected in all three functions
    1,700 employees, 370 Mio. Euro p.a. budget

    Hans Mönninghoff in the political Structure of the City of Hannover

    Hannover: A Liveable City at the Heart of Europe

    • Pop: 520,000 inhabitants (Region: 1.1 Mil.)

    City of Hannover
    • 204 km ²
    • Capital and economic centre of Lower Saxony
    • the world’s largest trade fair location
    • 245.000 jobs in service industries (e.g. insurances) and manufacturing and processing industries (e.g. automobile)
    • 35.000 students in famous universities
    Presentation Overview
    1. Four challenges of sustainable development
    2. Four important principles of Urban Planning as instrument of sustainable development
    3. Three central fields of a Low Carbon Strategy as part of Local Sustainability
    4. Three economic advantages
    Four Challenges of Sustainable Development

    Sustainability is more than environmental policy
    • stable population and social structures
    • employment
    • environmental quality, quality of life
    • stable municipal finances
    Challenge I Demographic Change 2005 - 2050
    Challenge II Employment
    Challenge III Maintaining the Quality of Urban Life, Crucial Soft Location Factors

    Challenge IV Stable Municipal Finances
    income and expenditure must be balanced !
    (1,580 billion €)

    Four Principles of Urban Planning as Part of a of Sustainable Development and low carbon strategy

    Planning principle I
    all new building developments in the region only along existing rail routes

    Planning principle II
    • minimum out-of-town shopping centres encouraging car use
    • support for city centre shopping
    • local shops
    Planning principle III
    • reutilisation of industrial wasteland; Hannover has extensive experience with decontamination of polluted sites.
    • There is a movement of older people to the City from the Hinterland
    • single-family-homes in the City, to keep young people here
    Why do we speak about low carbon strategies?

    1. Transport
    Hannover has a successful Long-Term Transport Plan with a good Modal Split
    • 27% on foot
    • 13% by bicycle
    • 41% by car - today no more cars per household than 1995 (411 per 1,000 inhabitants)
    • 17% by public transport
    Far-sighted planning for cars has averted serious traffic problems.
    • very good Light Rail/U-Bahn network with 12 routes
    • 63 Bus routes
    • 933 km of Public Transport routes in the city
    • 163 million Passengers per year in the region (+10% in the last 5 years)
    • 160 Mil. € subsidies per year
    • good connections with the train network
    2. Waste Mangment
    • Waste Quantities in the City of Hannover
    • waste avoidance
    • (- 380,000 t)
    • dumping of soil, building rubble, sewage sludge
    • (- 340,000t)
    • recycling of compost, organic waste (+ 72,000t)
    • recycling of glass, paper, packaging and scrap metal (+ 41,700t)
    Waste Treatment Concept for the Hannover Region from 2005
    • 365,000 tonnes p.a. unavoidable and unrecyclable waste
    • about 60% coarse fraction incinerated in a new waste-to-energy plant
    • about 30% fine fraction biologically treated in a fermentation plant
    • about 10% separated wood-fraction used in a special wood-fuelled power station
    Waste Treatment Centre
    • house insulation
    • construction of Low Energy Houses
    • high-efficiency heating systems e.g. decentral CHP plants
    • extension of the district heating network
    • electricity saving campaigns
    • renewable energy use
    Economic Advantage 1: more local purchasing power
    • In 2005 Hannover’s private households spent around 220 million € on gas and oil, most of which came from abroad.
    • Reducing these imports will increase local purchasing power considerably.
    Economic Advantage II: a stronger regional craft industries
    • Investment in and technologies for climate protection stimulate a dynamic added-value chain for the regional craft trades and businesses - an important job motor for the local economy .
    Economic Advantage III: more jobs !
    In the Hannover region there are already 3,000 people working in climate protection.

    In Germany jobs in wind energy is rising from 45.000 (in 2004) to 106.000 (in 2009)

    Worldwide more than 2 Mio. jobs in the solar-industry in the next 20 years (greenpeace-study)

    It is funny to read in THE AUSTRALIAN, Sept.14th 2009, The union-leader Tony Maher says “Green jobs are dopey”

    There is a lot to do !

    G20 low carbon competitiveness
    Report of the Climate Institute (Sep. 2009)

    Australia is ranked 15th out of 19 industrial countries and is the lowest of the Annex I countries of the Kyoto Protocol

    The GDP per tonne of CO2
    is very different
    in the countries
    (intelligent use of energy)
    Australia 0,8
    Germany 2,0
    Japan 3,6

    Economic growth and sustainable development are not contradictions:
    • Sustainable development means that economic, ecological and social issues are harmonised.
    • Economic and ecology are not adversaries; they enhance each other’s potential.
    • Better environmental standards and quality of life are important soft factors for the economic development of a city and a nation.
    Adapted from: "Moving Cities to Low Carbon - Lessons from Hannover", Hans Mönninghoff, 2009

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