On Monday night Wray Avenue was privileged enough to host a forum on sustainable communities, thanks to the efforts of Ecoburbia and Growing Fremantle.
With a focus on sustainability, Michael (famous for his book Sustainable House) outlined his realisation that he had made his house sustainable, but he himself still had a huge impact on energy and resource use. In particular, the food that he ate and the energy embodied in getting it to his table.
He advocated a range of ways to address this, including composting all food waste on your own property, only buying local food and turning public space into areas for food production.
Related to this was his concept for addressing one of his other chief concerns. Michael shared research that he had done on the way roads impact on the temperature of the surrounding houses. Usually dark in colour, they absorb massive amounts of heat during the day and release it during the night, adding between 5 and 6 degrees to the ambient temperature of the area.
As we’ve all experienced hot sweltering summer nights in Western Australia, I’m sure we can see this is a concern.
Michael has ways to address this heat, some of which include changing the composition of our road surfaces. Another idea is his idea of an ecoPOP, or a pop up median strip. It’s a fantastic way of creating shade and introducing heat-lowering effects of plants into an urban environment.
The City of Fremantle has one and are interested in getting it out into a street scape. Inspired by Michael’s talk, I’ve put together a proposal as to how this can be done on Wray. You can read it here: Proposal for an ecoPOP on Wray Avenue
It’s based on a modification to the plans to change the intersection of Manning Street and Wray Avenue and I believe it will also be a positive measure to reduce traffic speed on our street.
I’d love to collect signatures on a petition showing community support for this and present it to the Mayor early in the new year. I’ve placed copies of the petition on the chair besides my front door if you’re interested in signing it.