The Landmatters Ecovillage at Currumbin

by John Mongard Landscape Architects
Location: 639 Currumbin Road, Currumbin, Queensland
Client: Landmatters (Currumbin Valley) Pty Ltd
Landscape Architect: John Mongard Landscape Architects
Project: Landscape and Environmental Planning and Co-design for a 220 home ecovillage in Gold Coast hinterlands most scenic valley
Technical Consultants Collaborators: A team of 12 consultants, 200 local residents
Budget: $10 million dollars

South-East Queensland is rapidly morphing into a continuous matrix of suburban development. Interstate migration and the call of the Sun are sustaining housing booms in the edges of Gold Coast City.

After developing on Australia Council funded research project for finding alternatives to suburban sprawl, JMLA printed a brochure which was distributed by Gold Coast City Council to developers.

Landmatters Pty. Ltd. Were searching for a team to produce what they hoped would become the world's best ecologically sustainable village adopted the ecological principles of the brochure and hired JMLA to help in this vision.

A process of iterative planning began in 1999 and continues to current times the plans produced by JMLA and the team were finally adopted by Gold Coast City Council in September 2003, having taken some time, due to the unique nature of the project, which promises to be by far the greenest housing project the city has seen. There are no built examples in Australia of this type of alternative living model and the challenge now is to implement the vision.

Context

South-East Queensland is rapidly morphing into a continuous fabric of suburban development. Interstate migration and the call of the sun are sustaining housing booms on the edges of Gold Coast City.

Landmatters Pty Ltd set out to 'build a project that inspires and sets a world's best standard for the future community of Australia'. The proposal is to develop an alternative approach to sprawl by using ecologically sustainable principles. With this came the challenge to prove to the local community that suburban sprawl was not just about to begin on their sensitive doorstep.

The Landmatters ecovillage promises to be by far the greenest housing project the city has seen, and has been promoted as the most sustainable project in Queensland by the Environmental Protection Agency of Queensland and by the Urban Development Institute of Australia in 2006.The brief was strongly influenced by the community design process, with the visions, concerns and ideas of the valley's residents actively harnessed through a weeklong onsite brainstorming. Over four hundred people attended these brainstorms which were run from the old dairy shed on the property.

Description

The Landmatters Ecovillage has developed strategies and design codes which will lead to a change in approach and will give more than just lip-service to environmental sustainability. The layout of the ecovillage follows landform and landcover, creating eco-hamlet footprints which were all created on cleared land with no environmental constraints.

Currently, over 50% of our energy usage in the suburbs in South-East Queensland goes to heating water. The wastage of water as a vital resource also is a characteristic of the suburbs. The Landmatters Ecovillage will address all aspects of energy use and conservation, from the use of local materials and technology, to the 'closed-loop' paradigm for keeping all materials and wastes on-site and recycled. The development is the only large subdivision project in Queensland to currently be offering self-contained water and wastewater recycling systems.

The outcome of sprawl is usually an immediate change in landscape character. The Landmatters Ecovillage has sited each home parcel with the goal of achieving minimal visual impact on the neighbourhood. The infrastructure will be re-invented and moved from conventional pipes and roads to soft and environmental infrastructure.

Breaking the division of living places and food production places is one of the urgent agendas of creating a sustainable future. At the ecovillage, all scales of food-productive landscapes will be implemented, from community orchards through to both private and communal vegetable patches. A food-co op will sell the produce in the village centre.

The ecovillage in its physical and social intention, as well as in its titling and developmental process, will create a new benchmark for self sustainable growth in the hinterlands of the city.

For Further Information Contact:
John Mongard Landscape Architects
mail@mongard.com.au
Ph: (07) 3844 1932
Fax: (07) 3844 3250