The brief is to create an iconic, imaginative Games village with an identifiable heart that demonstrates sustainable development and carbon critical design for the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, between 4 and 15 April 2018. The 2018 Commonwealth Games village is to host 6500 athletes and officials throughout the 11 days of the competition. The village will accommodate residential, retail, recreation, dining and medical services required for athletes during the competition. As the largest reclamation urban project for the Gold Coast, the renovation of Parklands incorporates over 7 hectares of open area. The site is planned to integrate 1,252 apartments (1,170 one and two bedroom apartments and 82 townhouses) housing 6,500 athletes and officials in the course of the games.
The scope of this report is focused on the Games Village itself, and while it ensures that the village requirements needed for the Commonwealth Games can be met, this thesis is more concerned about what will happen to a Village Post-Games and how to build it into a sustainable community. This report entails the part of Sustainable community.
Kaid Benfield, Sustainable Communities program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), uses the term “sustainable communities” to describe places “where use of resources and emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants are going down, not up; where the air and waterways are accessible and clean; where land is used efficiently and shared parks and public spaces are plentiful and easily visited; where people of different ages, income levels and cultural backgrounds share equally in environmental, social and cultural benefits; where many needs of daily life can be met within a 20-minute walk and all may be met within a 20-minute transit ride; where industry and economic opportunity emphasize healthy, environmentally sound practices.”
Sustainable Community Design
Sustainable community design: 2
• evaluates the total land resource and ensures that land used for development is used effectively and with efficiency and the part not used for development is suitably sheltered and preserved.
• is an approach of planning(designing), building and creating places for living and working that permits the community and its residents to contribute to the on-going, long-term health of the community and therefore the natural surroundings.
• is concerned with providing, not prohibiting, prospects for those who reside and work in the community to form selections that contribute to a way of life that has low impact on the surroundings.
Fig 1: Components of a Sustainable Community
A transformative Games Village
Post games transformations
During the games, the village is intended to be efficient and sufficiently accommodating to all athletes and officials as possible. Post the Games, the long-term objective of the site is to be transformed into a mixed-use residential and commercial Health and Knowledge Precinct spreading across a colossal expanse of 29 hectares. In this part, we will explain how the Games Village will be transformed into a truly sustainable community.
The transformation of the Games Village to a functioning sustainable community is reflected in several aspects. Primarily, our intentions aim at maximizing the use of all the community facilities and secondly on improving these facilities for a higher and better standard of living for the residents after the games. The Table.1 below demonstrate during games and post-Games uses of main community facilities.
Table.1 Transformation of main community facilities
During Games Post-Games
Administration Space Central Plaza with Special Retail Stores
Communal dining hall Supermarkets with food courts
A medical clinic Functioning Hospital
Apartments with no kitchen One, two and three bedroom apartment units
Gymnasium Shared with Community at low cost
Athlete lounges on the first floor of the apartments Shared common area
The Central Building initially is going to be used as an administrative office where athletes, officials, guests, media and broadcasters can interact during the games. It will also be frequently visited and highly used after the games.
After the games, the central building is going to be turned into a central plaza at the heart of the Games Village. The Plaza will accommodate specialty retail stores.
Fig 2: Central Plaza Post games
Communal dining hall
The communal dining halls are used for the athletes to dine together. Initially, the dining halls will serve food and provide a huge selection of fresh fruits. After the completion of the games, it will be converted into supermarkets with food courts.
For the training center for all the athletes, the gymnasium will be a place for basketball training, badminton training and swimming. It also contains a complete functional gym and swimming pool for the athletes to relax. The gymnasium will be converted into a recreational center for the residents of the community with an operating staff.
Apartments with no kitchen
The previous dormitories used for residence of athletes will later be changed into one, two or three bedroom apartments. The single room apartment will be targeted for students with average cost of 400 Australian dollars while the two and three room apartments will be sold according to their design and extent of renovation.
Fig 5: Transformation of Apartments
The benefits from transformation of the community mainly consists of two parts:
(1) Economic income
The economic income is generated mostly from the fee for use of the gymnasium, such as swimming pool, badminton court and gym, but the entrance fee will be much cheaper than the profit-making gymnasiums outside. As Gold Coast is one of the major growing cities in Queensland, high-end specialty retails are targeted to be attract a lot local residents thus turning the commercial area into a social hub.
(2) Employment opportunities
The Parklands will be a massive development and thus will require a great number of property management personnel and cleaning staff for residential areas. Similarly, the commercial complex, restaurants and supermarkets will also generate more employment positions such as retailers, cashiers, sellers etc. It is noteworthy that the community creates some innovative employment opportunities: cooks for food courts and garbage classification personnel as described above
Patrick M. Condon (2010) outlines seven rules for sustainable, low-carbon communities: 1
1) restore the streetcar city
2) design an interconnected street system
3) locate commercial services frequent transit, and schools within a five-minute walk
4) locate good jobs close to affordable homes
5) provide a diversity of housing types
6) create a linked system of natural areas and parks
7) invest in lighter, greener, cheaper, and smarter infrastructure.
Our approach is based on the above rules and the proposed plans are focused on sustainable measures like efficient use of energy, development of renewable energy, recycle of waste and management of waste, all measures we take is to reduce carbon emission. We are proud to say that our design is people sensitive and is designed with respect to their feelings.
Specific actions and cost-benefit analysis
The sustainable community is a wide-ranging concept, including many detailed measures. All this detailed parts can be divided into more specific parts and dealt with in-depth solutions. In this part we would introduce some general specific measures to obtain a comprehensive sustainable community.
In our community, we advocate a concept called “Healthy Transportation” which is guaranteed through proper implementation of following components:
Local Public Transportation
We promote the use of public transportation such as buses, streetcars, and bus rapid transit, to reduce auto dependency and they are crucial to people who cannot drive. This system of transportation is especially beneficial to young people, the disabled, students, and the poor are. An ideal public transportation system has significant features such a proper and extensive design, clean, safe, and provides frequent and consistent service.
Interconnected Street System
We have implemented an interconnected street system is a type of system that provides higher number of connections for street intersections meaning there are more than one path to reach surrounding major streets. This results in narrow streets. The benefits generated by this system of street system are: shortened trips, easy circulation of pedestrians and bikes, and relieves traffic congestion by providing alternate routes.
Non-Motorized Transportation Program
This type of transportation contains paths for walking, cycling. Bicycle paths can be used for leisure or can have serviceable purposes. They enable residents to travel longer distances, can be used by people of all ages, and provide alternatives to automobile use. This transportation links homes with local amenities such as libraries, recreational center, commercial center etc.
High density and mixed-use community
Mixed-use community is an exemplary society where commercial, residential, and other uses within a single development. Communities that are planned to be high density and mixed use can reduce the need for residents to travel by car between home, work and shopping, while creating a better sense of community. In the center of our village we have a shopping mall, restaurants and a big square. The commercial area is close to the residential area. People living in the community can walk to these places instead of by car. It is convenient to people who live in the community to buy and to eat, and offer a great place to people playing together when they are free. Our community has two main features:
Our neighborhoods has sidewalks, greenways, paths and bike routes. We strongly encourage physical activity in hopes to reduce automobile dependency. In our community we consider the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers equally. There is a new concept called five-minute lifestyle can be adapted in sustainable community. This five-minute lifestyle reduces people’s need to drive and supports the idea of working near where you live. While sustainable communities support a lifestyle that itself fosters community identity and culture, physical communal structures and open spaces are also important for social gathering, local commerce to provide economic vitality as well as community identity.
We have provided open spaces in the form of natural undisturbed areas, greenways, or recreational areas. These spaces provide recreational sanctuaries for people to relax and get closer to nature. As a measure for sustainability we have planned to build 2 parks with lakes. One of these lakes will also function as a wetland for waste management. Along with these benefits, open space provides one another major benefit- carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the absorption of carbon dioxide by trees and soil, which ultimately improves air quality.
Fig 7: Recreational Area
Raising sense of belonging to community
Participatory community 34
Participatory community is the feature of our community. We want local people to involve into every issue of community such as decision-making process. People would rise to their responsibility to the community through this participatory method.
The success of community initiatives is mainly dependent on its holder’s ability to clearly state their goals and objectives. We plan to employ this concept in our community by involving the residents in the defining the objectives for the community and urge them to set out their plan of action in a systematic and logical framework by focusing that effort and creativity in productive ways in the present as well as in the future.
Education and communication
Communication and education are important to help foster an aware and supportive culture in the community 7. Education helps students gain knowledge, skills, and values to address the environmental and social challenges of the future. People can exchange their ideas about how to do to maintain sustainability of community through their communication. As a result, people can understand what sustainability really is and learn more specific measures by education. Providing education is key for both future inhabitants and for their neighbors. Only by education, can we deliver our thoughts about sustainability to our next generation.
Policy instruments especially economic incentive policies are very effective approaches to advocate green life style for the residents and lead them to make contribute to the development of sustainable community (Pitts and Liao 2009).
Domestic garbage charge system 6
Domestic garbage charge system is an innovative policy instrument to impel the residents to reduce their domestic garbage and as well as beneficial to urban waste classification in residential areas.
In our community, we will have biodegradable garbage bags of different sizes for residents of each apartment building and townhouse to use. The bigger the size is, the higher it charges (Qian and Zhu 2004). In this way, the residents will be motivated to reduce their domestic waste in order to pay less. There will be separate personnel responsible for garbage classification who will be paid by the income generated by selling the garbage bags. Thus, creating employment opportunities.
Fig.9: Domestic garbage charge system
Ideally, 32% of residential waste can be recycled.1 So, a recycling center is built in the community service center where wastes are collected through curbside collection. The center is also a place for residents to barter and buy second-hand goods from others. We plan to organize a bartering day every month for residents to participate in the activity. It is also an approach to reducing domestic waste.
We have adopted solar energy as our renewable energy source for the sustainable community. Our residential buildings has 1000m^2 solar panels on the roof. With 1m^2solar panel generating 0.4kwh every day, 1000m^2 solar panels = 146000kwh per year. So solar energy can save 42340 dollars every year as the average national electricity price in Australia is 29 US cents. On the other side, 1000m^2 solar panels cost 400000 dollars, including the expense of solar panels, battery, metal support and wire. The time of recovery of cost is 10 years during which period the carbon emission would decrease because of the use of solar energy and even after that, panels will continually reduce carbon emission and be beneficial to the environment and economy 7.
The production cost of polylactic acid (PLA) biodegradable garbage bag is about 2 dollars per kilogram. There will be about 1250 bags consumed every day if one family consumes one garbage bag a day, which is about 2kg. Therefore, the cost each day will be about 4 dollars. In addition, the salary paid for garbage classification workers will come from the income for selling the garbage bags.
Our design also includes an artificial lake in the community. The general costs of construction of an artificial lake is about $17,500-$25,000 for 5 acres’ lake. The expense is quite large but the benefit weighs over the cost. Firstly, the lake is economical. Lakes with animals and plants form a harmonious ecosystem with good ability of carbon storage, which can be translated to economic value. Secondly, the lake is beneficial to the environment. Local residents and athletes living in the village will have improved mental health. Moreover, the lake could also play an important role in saving money in drainage systems.
Our project is guided by environmentally sustainable design principles, encompassing environmental, social and economic initiatives. This is underpinned by accreditation from third-party rating agencies such as Green Star Communities, a voluntary sustainable rating system in Australia. The system evaluates the sustainability of projects at all stages of built environment lifecycle. It provides a laborious and complete rating from five impact categories, such as
This report concentrates on the environment category to rate the community.
Green Star divided evaluating standards into five stars:
We benchmark our community from specific aspects, such as, resource efficiency, resource management, impacts of projects on land, impacts of projects on water and impacts of project on atmosphere. Before the construction, we would measure metal concentration, quantity of microbe and pH value of land and water, besides centration of carbon dioxide, quality of air would also be measured. These parameters are the foundation to evaluate community. And we set our targets for every parameter. During the process of construction and after construction, we would monitor the change of parameter’s value. We would benchmark the community based on the difference between real changes and the targets we set.
Cost is our standard to evaluate resource management and efficiency. The expense of building the sustainable community are absolutely more than the expense of building a normal one, because we need to buy some equipment to pursue use ratio of resource. So we designers have calculated the annual maintenance cost of a normal community from it begins to operate, then we would compare the maintenance cost of the sustainable community with the results we calculated. The annual difference is the foundation to benchmark the community.
As explained the approach of the development of sustainable community covers a wide range of aspects of other key elements. And it is obvious that there exists some interrelation among them, such as:
The mix-function space is influenced by local infrastructure. Both of them will work together to ensure the transportation space for residents are convenient and environmentally friendly. The green area design is also combined with the actions undertaken for biodiversity, which is also aimed at providing beautiful green space for residents along with carbon sequestration.
The education and policy instruments is also concerned with other aspects of other key elements. For example, the domestic garbage charge system is influenced by the actions undertaken for waste management. In addition, the education projects cover energy saving, water saving and recycling and many other aspects.