Image: Future Melbourne (Zone 9 is where the eco suburb might be.)
Given its recent devastation by bushfires (which continue as we write) the Australian state of Victoria could do with a good news story. And this might be it. A design has been unveiled for a suburb only two kiliometres from the central business district of Melbourne that will be free of cars. The think tank behind the vision, the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, reckon this will be equal to removing up to 5,000 cars from the proposed suburbs roads.
They plan for the new development to be based around walking, cycling and electric vehicles, which a car share type facility available on the precinct's fringes.They haven't limited their ambition there though.Known by the rather unimaginative name of Eco-City Melbourne, the otherwise inspiring proposal also includes for mini urban-farms and a "multi-storey farm". Housing will be medium-density with buildings of up to eight storeys, using a centralised heating and cooling system.
The new suburb is expected to "treat all its own sewage and use some of the resultant methane for power production. There would also be urban wind towers and solar panels to produce electricity."
Not bad for a location that is only a 25 minute walk to the heart of the city.
But it's all pie in the sky just yet. Although the site is the last major development area left close to the city centre, the state government's rail service currently owns the land and its lease doesn't expire until 2014. But this hasn't stopped the 200 students, who developed the Eco-City idea, from dreaming.
More Eco Cities on TreeHugger
• Dongtan, China's Flagship Ecocity Project, R.I.P.
• EcoCity Proposed for Inner Sydney
• "Masdar is the Catalyst"
• Califia: Eco-City of the (Near) Future
• The 2008 Ecocity World Summit: "Ecocity is Beautiful, Ecocity is Possible!"