The framework aims to provide national consistency and a common language around the definition of best practice sustainable communities, encourage innovation and excellence in the approach to creating future communities, promote integration across the field of sustainability issues related to communities, facilitate stakeholder engagement during the evolution of sustainable communities and provide a basis for ongoing assessment and evaluation of sustainable community evolution.
“A sustainable community is the one that has aspirations for the future that acknowledge the challenges brought about by change. It is liveable, resilient, diverse and adaptable,” the GBCA said. “It strives for a lower carbon and ecological footprint. A sustainable community evolves through policy and collaborative practice that respects and embraces the aspirations of existing and future community stakeholders.”
For the purposes of this framework, the term ‘community’ comprises any precinct, place, neighbourhood or other geographic area that includes infrastructure designed to provide energy and water, manage waste, communications, technology and transport; private and public buildings and public realm; people living or visiting the place; biological systems within the environment; economy, and governance and services.
To assist communities in Australia and internationally to meet a sustainable future, the Green Star – Communities team established five principles.
1. Enhance liveabilityAccording to this principle, communities should provide a diverse array of dwellings, buildings and facilities that reflect their broad socio-economic needs. They should also provide access to local services such as transport, food, health and conveniences.
2. Create opportunities for economic prosperityThis principle highlights the importance of promoting education and learning, providing opportunities for the community to access a variety of education and learning systems.
3. Foster environmental responsibilitySustainable communities should respect the environmental systems that support them. They should protect and restore the natural environmental values of their bio-regions and promote infrastructure, transport and buildings that reduce their ecological footprint.
4. Embrace design excellenceTo ensure a community is sustainable, its design should consider density, mixed use buildings, connectivity and the protection of valuable land uses such as agriculture.
While maintaining flexible and adaptable approaches, communities should create opportunities to retrofit and revitalise existing precincts, places and buildings, providing for development, planning flexibility and adaptability to support continuous improvement of the built environment.
5. Demonstrate visionary leadership and strong governanceCreating sustainable communities is not possible without leadership and strong governance frameworks that are transparent, accountable and adaptable. They enable active partnerships to build capacity and achieve a shared vision and deliver stakeholder benefit.