Challenges And Solutions To Sustainable Cities In Australia

Current State of Sustainable Development in Australia

The article of investigation: ‘Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there’

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The case study is on the article under the title ‘Sustainable cities? Australia’s building and planning rules stand in the way of getting there,’ published on September 20, 2017 (Andréanne, Hurley, Susie & Trivess 2017). The article tries to examine the state of cities and the current planning system that is blamed for not following the required environmental sustainability. In addition, the article also indicates that currently upon examination of building a show that building is not meeting the requirement for sustainable building. This is not exceptional for that infrastructure since the planning of most of the Australian cities is not properly done according to environmental requirement. The author tries to compare the planning of cities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals showing that at the moment of writing the article Australia was ranked 20th country in the world in terms of sustainability. Furthermore, the authors try to evaluate the current sustainable building and planning frameworks to understand the gaps that are there in the system leading to a failed system. The author finishes the article by pointing out some system that needs to be changed in order to make the infrastructure development sustainable.   

The historical context of environmental sustainability is within the government documents that were laid forth through research. The challenge of poor infrastructure development began due to increasing demand for housing and infrastructure within the country. This necessitates the need for development of sustainable land use and infrastructure development policies or framework. The development of these environmentally sustainable land use policy that guides the construction and infrastructure development has little legislation as identified by the New South Wales state (Dunmade 2013b).

The current sustainable context for the infrastructure challenge is engraved within the statistic showing the impact of the built environment to sustainability. According to the author of the article, build environment account for a third of greenhouse gas emission originates from the built environment. Moreover, 12% of the energy use emanate from the built environment within Australia as compared to 40% that forms the world index. The greenhouse emission within Australia built environment on the other hand account for 13% and this shows the far that poor environmental sustainable planning impact cities. Currently, the government of Australia has tried to improve environmental planning through local government a system that does not work given the low legislation framework. One example of a local government trying to institute sustainable environmental planning is the government of Victoria. The body that is used by the government called Council Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments (CASBE). The core function of this body is to bring together engineering professionals within Australia to come up with sustainable building and planning framework (Dunmade 2013a).

Factors Contributing to Poor Sustainability

The future context of the sustainable indicates there is a need for better building design and planning. There is a need for sustainable building policies that is coupled with sustainable environmental land use. Future also points to advance the use of other sustainable building practices that will help improve the sustainable environmental use. This will include a robust government system that is easy to approve construction. The system will also be backed up with good government policies that reduce the impact of a political obstacle in sustainable engineering practices (Rosen 2012).

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The case study is about sustainable construction, environmental planning, infrastructure development, and urban planning. Firstly, the article indicates that in terms of sustainable construction, most of Australia cities are not sustainable. Most of the constructions are poorly designed and planed making various environmental challenges. Secondly, environmental planning within urban cities still falls short of standards as proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Dunmade 2014).

The investigation brings to understanding the construction and infrastructure challenges affecting sustainability and possible sustainable engineering solutions. The investigation analyses the poor environmental sustainable development especially in construction and infrastructure challenges that are presented in the article. 

The author cites some of the factors that have resulted in the lack of sustainability of Australian cities. Some of these factors human social factors, government factors, and engineering factors. Firstly, human social factors that have led to challenges in sustainability refers high cost of living that is driving many people to build houses without considering the impact on the environment. The need for settlement also has because many people to build a house with no proper approval and with poor planning. The high housing pressure that exists, presents the need to develop more built environments to accommodate the ever-rising populations within the country is part of the problem that is driving the unsustainable construction (Vallero & Brasier 2008).

Government factors include a bureaucratic system and political obstacles. The building planning and approval have been termed as a complex discouraging system with many developers not meeting the required standards for environmental planning. In addition, the article also shows that the government has failed to develop and enforce sustainable construction framework. The author state the need for environmental sustainability standards for planning and building that can help reduce the poor planning that is currently affecting the country. Leaving the framework development into the hand of the local government is not solving the sustainability challenges as this only brings tension (Dunmade 2013b).

Stakeholders in Sustainable Environmental Planning

The difference in the responsible government unit is another challenge that is mention within the article as the tension is building between the local government and national government planning framework. Lack of proper legislation that guides the planning framework is one of the areas that affect sustainable environmental us as most governments fail to put in place the required framework. This has resulted in some state government such as that of New South Wale developing their own framework and eventually results in tension. This brings engineering challenge especially for those designing infrastructure and constructions (Sustainable Engineering & Design 2016). For instance, the rejection of nightingale in the year 2015 has also contributed to the tension developed as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Nightingale (Andréanne, Hurley, Susie & Trivess 2017)

Lastly, engineering factors that are also cited include manufacture construction material that is not meeting the sustainable threshold. Poor planning and infrastructure design is another engineering challenge that has led to unsustainable cities in Australia. The article presents the engineering sustainability challenge limits the engineering capacity to develop those projects that comply with the required set of sustainable standards. There are other engineering factors that have influenced the low sustainable construction and infrastructure development within Australia as indicated within the article that includes a poor design on the part of engineers since they are professional and are expected to complies with standards. The sustainable construction and infrastructure development challenge is attributed therefore is a more complex system with a number of factors. Some of these factors as indicated in the article may also include stakeholders that act directly or indirectly (Sachin & Bhaskar 2016).

There are various stakeholders that are part of the case study play an important to the sustainable challenges or solution. Firstly, the government is a key stakeholder that has been mention as having failed in its environmental regulation when approving or developing the construction or infrastructure. The government provides systems that are used for approval of plans and also provides the blueprint for sustainable environmental or infrastructure development. Secondly, engineering is also stakeholders within the context of the case study that may bring a sustainable system in place. A government such those of the Victoria and New South Wales are bringing together building design and planning professional to develop land use policies that are important for sustainable environmental planning. Thirdly, the public is another stakeholder that forms part of the challenge that is mention in the article. The public which also forms part of the land and building owners and is an active actor within the system. Poor approval of construction of a building within the country is also attributed to the negligence of house owner as some do not follow the right channel citing complex government systems. Lastly, the manufacture of the building materials is another area that is also connected to sustainability since the type of material that is sued render the construction unsustainable (Rosen 2012).

Engineering Solutions for Sustainable Urban Planning and Infrastructure Development

Based on the article the available engineering solution can help make these cities sustainable. The author suggests the need to transform the built environment into a more sustainable environment. Transforming the built environment requires the development of an effective planning framework and alternative manufactured building materials. Firstly, the various tires of the government can bring together the engineering professionals to design a sustainable environmental plan (Huesemann & Joyce 2011). A sustainable environmental plan will guide the environmental use leading to a preplanned development.  Secondly, develop an engineering approval system that is less complex and meet the requirement as laid out in the framework. As identified in the article, the current government approval system is complex and makes building different leading to the unsustainable built environment. Thirdly, removing political obstacle is another area that can lead to the sustainable built environment. The government that has good engineering and land use policies is important for the advancement of sustainable engineering. In addition, the government policies also play an important role in ensuring that all the engineering developments meet the sustainable standards that are laid down within the land use policies. It is also exceptional for qualification of engineers involved in the construction as it also contributes to sustainable construction and infrastructure development (Dunmade 2012).

The author of the article also indicates the need for innovative sustainable building capacity that contributes to the sustainable built environment. A good sustainable building capacity has good building materials that enhance the sustainability of our construction and infrastructure. As indicated by Chan & Salustri (2012), a sustainable building system should use engineering capacity to bring a new way of developing constructions that minimize energy usage and emission of greenhouse gases into the environment. This implies that one way of solving the infrastructure challenges mention in the article is by coming up with alternative construction materials and the source of energy used in the building. Moreover, the task of government is to develop sustainable policies that will ensure that new building complies with proposed sustainable construction practice.  For instance, some government has come up with a building framework that incorporates gardens into building so as to reduce the rate of greenhouse gases released into the environment (Dunmade 2015).


In conclusion, the engineering sustainability is an important system that needs clear policies and planning framework that enable proper land or environmental use. This is is the core aspects that are presented in the article under investigation. The article also presents some of the challenges that are currently facing some of the engineering constructions and the need to solve these impediments. There all the stakeholders that have been mentioned in the article need to come up together to develop the required framework.


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