What do the arts bring to environmental governance?

I started out on this research journey thinking that ‘connectivity’ would be a key motif for understanding what the arts could bring to environmental governance. It turns out that connectivity is critical to more levels of the enquiry than I had anticipated. From connecting people to their physical environments, to bridging the philosophical divide between…

Boolean searches for fuzzy themes and other research quandaries

There’s an odd paradox in applying research methodologies to a subject when the subject itself resists the research methodology. In this instance the paradox surfaces when employing reductive, disciplinary classifications to a subject that rejects reductionism and seeks interconnected, holistic, interdisciplinary and even transdisciplinary expression. This conundrum has been both challenging and exciting to encounter…

Connecting Habitats, Connecting Disciplines

James Lee and Simon Nicholas are undertaking research projects as part of the Environmental Management Research Internship. Although at first glance the two projects would appear to be very different in subject matter and approach, a closer look reveals a common theme of ‘connectivity’. Simon’s project is concerned with the isolation of the Blue Mountains…

Should we be Increasing the Price of Water to Promote Less Water Use?

The price of potable water is a contentious issue. From a purely economic point of view using the supply and demand principles, water scarcity should herald higher water prices in order for the cost to reflect the water shortage. When people have to pay a premium price for a product, they tend to value it…

Promoting change for the public good: rainwater tanks and sustainable farming

The tragedy of the commons is a well-known theory by Garrett Hardin, in which people acting individually in their own self-interest exploit a common resource to the detriment of the whole group. It’s a concept that has commonly been used when discussing sustainable development, and continues to be relevant today. Both of our project topics discuss…

Who speaks for the environment in your urban precinct?

Microgrids may deliver significant environmental benefits to urban precincts. In determining the best possible microgrid   infrastructure, there are two potential paths. One is to assess the environmental and economic benefit  of existing technological options.   Another approach is to create coalitions of precinct participants united by a shared vision of an ideal sustainable precinct, and then backcasting to…

Low Carbon Urban Precincts – From Mythology to Reality

Low Carbon Urban Precincts emote visions of local renewable energy generation, vertical farming and energy efficient business and residents using efficient appliances and driving electric vehicles.  So do we find the establishment of these precincts elusive? How do we encourage them? How do we measure them?