Buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions so they have an integral role to play in our path to net zero. Canberra has an opportunity to position itself as a leader in sustainable design and this vision can help us grasp that opportunity. We should plan our city’s future in a way that encourages positive and meaningful interaction between the built and natural environments, rather than prioritising the former to the detriment of the latter.
As density increases in central locations, local conservation efforts must also increase to protect the habitat – and the native species that live there – from Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura to Gurubang Dhawura (Stirling Park).
We need an even stronger focus on active travel with more of Canberra made traversable on foot and by bicycle through the establishment of a world-class network of active transport routes. Investing in such a network will help accelerate the decarbonisation of our city while supporting the health and wellbeing of Canberrans and visitors.
New buildings should be designed to maximise energy efficiency, embrace the cost savings offered by electrification and the renewable transition, and minimise the heat sink effects of other poorly planned developments.
Opportunities should also be explored to draw on local knowledge and embed the perspectives of diverse groups in development decisions.