We began our journey of together designing a sustainable urban village with “An Evening of Inspiration” on Friday 20 July 2012. Guest speakers gave examples of what makes great liveable cities and great community neighbourhoods and about the Living Building Challenge, the leading edge in sustainable design. All these fantastic ideas fed into the workshop the following day on how we can design an inner-city village that is truly sustainable – ecologically, socially and financially.

The speakers were:

Paul F Downton BSc(Hons) BArch(Wales) PhD Architect

Architect Paul F Downton.Architect, Writer, Urban Evolutionary

Prize-winning architect, writer, international speaker, green building pioneer and early advocate for action on climate change. His projects include a keynote green building for the Australian National University and the internationally awarded Christie Walk development. Founder of Urban Ecology Australia, his ecocity vision is supported by years of working with communities.

With a doctorate in Environmental Studies and 30 years experience teaching architecture, Paul is an acknowledged world leader in sustainable city theory.

He is a major contributor to the Australian government’s ‘Your Home Technical Manual’. His book ‘Ecopolis: Architecture and Cities for a Changing Climate’ was published in 2009. The first ebook in Paul’s new ‘Ecocity’ series will be published this year.

Download Paul’s presentation here

Jerome Partington, Jasmax

Jerome Partington is Sustainabiity Manager for the archtiectural firm Jasmax. He and colleague Justin Evatt recently travelled to North America’s Pacific NW to study advanced sustainable buildings. Buildings that perform ‘outside of the box’ when it comes to delivering sustainable value for their owners & users, the environment and society too.

Jerome introduced The Living Building Challenge,  a transformational design and performance tool which uses nature as the yard stick to measure success. He showed photos of buildings in Vancouver, Seattle and Portland of a range of building types, all designed to meet the Living Building Challenge; beautiful and insightful, achieving net zero energy and water, accounting for their embodied and environmental impacts and avoiding any toxic or hazardous materials. Good for people and good for the planet.

Download Jerome’s presentation here 

Robin Allison

Robin Allison.Robin Allison is the initiator and development coordinator of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, an internationally recognised 32-home cohousing neighbourhood in West Auckland committed to both social and environmental sustainability. With her background as an architect, Robin coordinated the development, design and construction of Earthsong, including both internal group processes and external consultants and contractors. Robin is a fellow of the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, and was profiled in the recently published book “How Communities Heal”. See the Earthsong website at

Download Robin’s presentation here

Dr Glen Koorey

Dr Glen Koorey.Glen is a Senior Lecturer in Transportation at the University of Canterbury. He specialises in road safety, speed management, and sustainable transport, and has studied many places overseas to try to determine how transport and land-use can contribute to successful cities and urban developments.

Download Dr Koorey’s presentation here

Other speakers on Friday 20 July 2012 were

  • Ruth Dyson, MP for Port Hills

  • David Woodhouse, Green party candidate for Christchurch Central

And we ended the evening with a panel featuring Debbie Prior of She Chocolate, Paul Downton, Jerome Partington, Robin Allison, Danny Squires, and Brendan Rhodes. Brendan briefly introduced the Maharishi Vastu approach to architecture and Danny gave a quick overview of his breakthrough work on transitional architecture and the WikiHouse – download this presentation here.