Integrated Approach of Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation in a Metro Project

Designing a metro system in the age of climate change provides the opportunity to go way beyond standard specifications and compliance, creating exceptional sustainable and climate resilient design outcomes.

This paper will review the methodology used to integrate environmentally sustainable principles and climate change adaptation designs, within the concept development phase of the Melbourne Metro Underground Rail Project.

The initial brief requested that all aspects of work should give consideration to the minimization of environmental and social impacts of construction, operation and maintenance, and that the design needs to consider future impacts of climate change.

The problem here was that the technical advisory team were asked to provide solutions within the project for an issue that had no clear definition. The team could have addressed minimal requirements for the sake of policy, however the team chose a more comprehensive impactful approach, and in so doing set new industry benchmarks.

Plus, to address all the sustainability opportunities in a job of this magnitude it is important to consider the broader impact on communities, using the triple bottom line approach as a fundamental principle, because in reality this is not just an underground rail project connecting the west of Melbourne to South Yarra Station. It impacts the cityscape, social activities, economy and urban development, businesses and the quality of ambient environment space around stations. There is also the positive legacy for the life of the network to be considered, 100 years hence, for future generations.

There were a number of challenges. Challenges where changed into opportunities, and the sustainable design outcomes are unprecedented in any previous metro, underground or infrastructure projects in the world. Achieving this outcome required a totally new innovative way of thinking, making sure that consideration was given to sustainable design and the resilience to climate change.

Mr Phillip Roös, Sustainable Design Practice Leader, Sinclair Knight Merz

The 4th International Urban Design Conference 2011
21st to 23rd of September, Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa, Queensland

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