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The Surveyor's Role in Developing a Sustainable Society

Narelle Underwood ~ Undergraduate Thesis ~ October 2008
Supervised by Michael Green and Darryl Warry

Surveyors Design Objectives and Guidelines for Developing a Sustainable Society

In order to create a sustainable society we need to develop more sustainable communities. The key to creating a sustainable community is the establishment of well defined design objectives and guidelines to ensure that the members of the multi-disciplinary design team (including surveyors) are aware of the expected outcomes.

It is suggested that the following objectives and guidelines be used as the basis for any proposed sustainable community development:

Objective 1: Reduce car dependence

Guideline 1: Identify sites that are currently under or un-developed that are within close proximity to existing public transport services. It is generally much less expensive to upgrade existing services than to construct new ones especially with rail transport. For this reason all new urban developments should be located along the existing rail infrastructure.

Objective 2: Environmental protection

Guideline 2: Areas of environmental significance (including natural bushland) need to be identified and assessed. The resulting subdivision should be designed to retain areas of significant vegetation and rehabilitate areas as necessary. If used to create public open spaces these areas can become a considerable asset to the community.

Objective 3: Reduce energy consumption

Guideline 3: Energy consumption within a community can be significantly reduced by considering solar access at the subdivision stage. In order to reduce the demand on electricity generated by fossil fuels it is imperative to design a subdivision to allow the maximum use of solar energy for not only heating and cooling purposes but to also increase the potential of electrical generation via grid connected solar. For this reason east-west and north-south road and lot orientation should be preferred and consideration given to increasing the energy reduction targets required by BASIX. Post occupation energy audits and resident education on ways to reduce energy consumption should be considered essential elements of any community.

Objective 4: Reduce potable water consumption

Guideline 4: The reduction of potable water usage can be achieved by a number of means. Resident education will help stop water wastage and where possible grey water reuse systems should be designed to be installed in new estates to reduce the demand on our limited potable water supplies.

Objective 5: Create communities with identity and character that integrate into the existing urban environment

Guideline 5: The success of any new development will require it to be unique in character and identity while also integrating into the existing surrounding urban environment. Any proposed developments should link with existing surrounding development via both road and pedestrian access while housing design guidelines and restrictions will ensure that all new dwellings meet the prescribed character requirements.

Objective 6: Promote walking, cycling and the use of public transport

Guideline 6: A reduced dependence on private car transport will need to be supported by access to walking and cycle pathways and adequate public transport. Well designed subdivisions will provide adequate access to all of these facilities and can become a valuable marketing aspect in these times of heightened environmental concern and rising petrol prices.