Republic of Moreland

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.

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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 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.

February 12, 2007

Backyard experiment


With Hydrocell, watered twice weekly


Without Hydrocell, watered twice weekly (more…)

February 9, 2007

Crow’s-eye view of Moreland

Ever wondered how big your neighbour’s illegal extension actually is? Now you can check it out, at Google Earth, of course. Or Google maps. Here’s the satellite aerial image of Moreland, thanks to Brickworks Collective, a site I found via Brunswick Labor.net. Scroll around and have a perv! You can zoom in using the tool on the left.

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 24, 2006

Skywalkers

Filed under: art,Brunswick,nonsense,North Fitzroy,rooftops — Kath @ 9:45 pm

This post comes from the lovely emilie zoey baker.
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(more…)

December 22, 2006

Open for business

Sydney roadWELCOME TO Republic of Moreland. I did pen a tagline under its masthead but, for reasons unknown, WordPress refused to publish it. I thought about using Almost Pretty, the title of a history of Sydney Road, which, incidentally, is the longest continuous retail strip in the Southern Hemisphere, or so a prominent local real estate auctioneer is very fond of shouting. (If you’re lucky enough to covet property, you know who I’m talking about. He with the year-round suntan.) It’s an impressive fact, until you think about the other cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Anyway, suggestions for the tagline, and how to get it up there, will be warmly received. (more…)

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