Republic of Moreland

December 11, 2008

Coburg pool opening!

Filed under: architecture,Coburg,events — Kath @ 4:26 pm

coburg

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April 9, 2008

Call to action: save Coburg pool

Filed under: architecture,Coburg,politics,urban planning — Kath @ 10:50 am

The campaign to save Coburg Olympic pool is still going strong. The campaign has a website here, where you can download fliers, get background information and attend action meetings.

January 6, 2008

The vegetable-domestic complex

Thanks, Max Franc, for telling me to get off my arse and do another post. Following Marty’s great comment about his concrete patch turned native and vegie garden, here are some before and after snaps of my own.

Like Marty’s, our garden has a very different microclimate to what it had a year ago. These pics don’t show my beloved urban crops, but on the roof you can see my plastic planter boxes with lightweight medium and pumpkins planted within.

But these pics are old — now the pumpkin crop is covering a great expanse of rooftop. Their superb soft green solar panels are harvesting sunlight and turning it into sweet cellulose, while cooling our house. Joy. The most inexpensive solar-panel-carbon-uptake-insulating-beautifiers ever. I’m hoping the Moreland City Council will get cranky with me for breaching some by-law by having pumpkins on my roof. If this happens, I’ll bludgeon them with the green roof policies of Toronto and Germany, where there is now a whopping 14 per cent of green roof coverage in urban centres, thanks to policy incentive. That’s right: more than one in ten buildings there have some rooftop vegetation!

A world expert on green roofs, Germany’s Professor Manfred Köhler, is coming to Melbourne soon to give talks about green roof policy and practicalities. Come along and see him! There will be many green roof experts there.

I’ll put some current photos up of my rooftop crop soon.

May 21, 2007

Solar info for Morelanders

Filed under: architecture,environment,gardens,notices — Kath @ 7:14 pm

These pictures are for Faith, who asked about integrating roof gardens and solar panels.

There’s a site which explains about integration of green roofs and solar panels here.

Faith also alerted me to the Moreland Energy Foundation‘s solar power information session on 31 May.

The sesssion will cover:

  • Information on solar power technology
  • Displays of solar paneles and hot water systems
  • Information on prices for various systems
  • An opportunity to register interest in group discounts for people living in the same area.
  • May 10, 2007

    Green roofs could make more land in Moreland

    This is what I’d like to see more of in residential Moreland:

    And, in our light industrial areas, this:

    A brand new gallery of photographs of green roofs from around the world is on the Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities website. Just follow the links to the photo gallery.

    April 23, 2007

    Midnight mayhem in Moreland

    Two nights ago I awoke to the sound of screaming.

    No, I didn’t copy that from my grade 4 creative writing “opening lines” exercise. I actually did awake to the sound of screaming.

    It was coming from my back yard. Out of sleep’s fug, it dawned on me that the alarming sounds were coming from the chook pen. I grabbed the torch and raced outside to hear the delicate tinkle of a cat-collar bell. My chickens were all out of the coop, clearly agitated.

    I didn’t see the cat, but yesterday a tabby, wearing said bell, was casing the joint. I threw stones at it, as one does. But it kept returning all day, eventually terrorising the baby chooks. In broad daylight!

    Despite my stone-throwing, word of larks at Number xx got around, and before long a tortoise-shell cat was stalking the back yard, And then you, spooky.

    My chicken-coop, being of open plan (Eames era) design, is a drop-in facility for all class of creature. It’s not maximum security, but it looks like I’ll have to work on upgrading it today.

    Unless anyone has suggestions as to how to keep them there kitties away. I’ve heard of pepper to deter dogs: is there any non-structural deterrent for cats?

    April 16, 2007

    Backyard experiment #3: cheap green roof

    I’ve started a garden on my rooftop: a very simple and cheap one. I picked up some large rectangular plastic containers from the hardware ($12 each) and drilled holes in the bottom. I chucked them on the north-facing lean-to roof and then lay Hydrocell in the bottom of the containers and cow poo (from Andrew’s Stock Feed in Sydney Rd) and soil up the sides. Inside the north side of the containers, where the sun hits the black plastic, I put more Hydrocell to act as an insulator. Then I planted a fruit vine in each: passionfruit and kiwi-fruit. I’ll lay some lightweight weldmesh on the roof at some stage: by summer I’m hoping the roof will be a facade of green. Not just beautiful, but a great thermal insulator, and good for the city environment, too, as it reduces the heat-island effect. I shouldn’t need to water them over winter, and the hydrocell should allow for minimal watering in other seasons. Fingers crossed.

    That’s not my green roof pictured above: that’s a living wall. You can find out much more about living walls and green roofs in Australia by joining Green Roofs for Healthy Australian Cities. One of its board members, the lovely Sidonie Carpenter (who took this picture), is on a travelling fellowship to study green roofs and living walls around SE Asia and north America. Here are some of her pics:

    Getty Centre, LA

    Botanic Gardens, Singapore:

    School of Art and Design, Singapore:

    You can see more of Sidonie’s pics here, and find out more about Green Roofs in Australia here.

    March 1, 2007

    VCAT to review decision to abolish Coburg High School

    Filed under: architecture,Coburg,events,notices,politics,urban planning — Kath @ 1:28 pm

    The pain of school closures from the Kennett years is still felt by many Victorians. Coburg High School was one of many Jeffed communities, and 11 years later, its site remains a source of contention. This is among a number of pictures of the heritage school site taken by Peter Robertson and available on his blogsite. As Peter reports, residents who opposed the Council decision to demolish the heritage building are attending a VCAT hearing to determine the validity of the Council decision. 10am, 7 March, 55 King St, Melbourne.

    February 15, 2007

    Please don’t go

    For several years I had the strange experience of living in far north Queensland, where developers breed like cane toads, and old house demolition is an international sport. (more…)

    January 28, 2007

    Why Moreland Council should invest in groofs

    I had the good fortune recently to meet an urban planning graduate from RMIT, Ben Nicholson. I had the further good fortune to read his elegant thesis about Melbourne’s ‘groofs’. Urban rooftop gardens reduce our environmental footprint in so many ways, but more than that, they’re bringing new ecologies, aesthetics and social behaviours into cities. They’re even reducing urban management problems. And they’re profitable! Not so much in Melbourne: we’re woefuly behind the rest of the world in the green roofs movement. (more…)

    January 16, 2007

    New ways with water


    Can you guess what these are? A hint: they’re not marital aids. They are in fact the one device. This device is very interesting in light of the argument that currrent water restrictions, which target individuals (residents), are systemically unfair. (more…)

    December 26, 2006

    Can’t decide which I love the best

    Filed under: architecture,art,Coburg,politics,urban planning — Kath @ 10:41 am

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    Houses are people too, you know. I was going to write an earnest little post on neighbourhood character, which quoted from Alain de Botton’s peerless book, The Architecture of Happiness. I was going to explore my bourgeois notions of what constitutes neigbourhood character, and take you on a romp through the different styles in my area (Victorian, Edwardian, Federation, faux Georgian, Deco), and compare their virtues with these brown boxes, also in my street.
    (more…)

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