New mixed-use developments present a unique opportunity for an innovative response to the challenge of climate change. We can now build new communities that demonstrate ways of living within the limits for greenhouse gas production proposed for 2050. Such communities can model desirable low-carbon lifestyles – ways of living better while consuming less – and test innovative products and services that could form the basis of our coming low-carbon economy. The EBD [Ecological Business District] is a design vision from the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL). This six-month EBD project, for the site known as ‘E-Gate’ (between Docklands and North Melbourne), culminated in a substantial exhibition of work in the Docklands in February 2009. That vision, for a new high-density ‘eco-city’ next to the CBD, can claim considerable influence on the direction in which development of that site is now taking. In the words of Minister Tim Pallas (Roads, Ports and Major Projects) at the opening of the EBD exhibition: “…What could be done with this new land? This is where projects such as Eco City have great value. All good strategic planning begins with a discussion and I, for one, believe that this dialogue is always improved by the number of intelligent voices involved. In this case we have a brains trust of students and academics from four leading universities, as well as local and international experts generating some very exciting ideas…[VEIL’s] ideas will have a real influence on the site’s future.”
This booklet lays out the vision for this innovative and experimental ‘city within a city’, with design work across a range of scales from the urban to the domestic that are able to support a diverse, low consumption, highly productive and truly sustainable community.