Transiting Cities - Low Carbon Futures Design Ideas Competition received 60 entries involving 194 people from 14 countries. At a minimum, teams had to have an architect or landscape architect involved. Teams also included urban designers, planners, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, economists, artists, students and local people.

First Prize

Reassembling Flows

Team Name > Parallax Landscape

Team Members > Kees Lokman, Yu Ding, Melissa How

Country of Origin > Missouri, United States

Current industrial land use practices in Latrobe, such as mining operations and dairy farming, come with tremendous environmental costs. Beyond greenhouse gas emissions, mining operations are the major source of surface and groundwater pollution. Large amounts of water are extracted from local aquifers for mining operations and irrigation-based agriculture, causing destabilization of soil conditions, increasing the chance of river bank failures, and making the area more prone to flooding and seismic activity. Moreover, intensive cattle and dairy farming operations produce large amounts of manure which are currently disposed of in inadequately sized lagoons or storage structures that allow pathogens to escape into the surrounding environment.

Reassembling Flows proposes a dynamic vision for Latrobe, one capable of responding to both short- and long term changes. Understanding Latrobe Valley as a complex system of interconnected flows of industrial processes, ecological systems, and cultural networks allows for the transformation of currently discarded "waste" byproducts from these processes into valuable resources--creating opportunities from liabilities. The project repurposes existing infrastructures, optimizes resource utilization, and structurally integrates ecosystem services into design processes across multiple scales. By proposing a gradual shift over time from current coal oriented energy economy and opening up its remnants to its people, the proposal honors the rich and storied history of the region while incorporating cleaner energy alternatives. Rather than merely a landscape of extraction, Latrobe becomes a key part in an extensive network of social, environmental and economic exchanges that extends throughout and spatially connects the Gippsland Region.

Second Prize

Dirty to Mighty: Brown is the New Green

Team Name: Daichi

Team Members: Daichi Yamashita
Country of Origin: Ontario, Canada

Dirty to Mighty is a response to two major issues Australia faces in relation to energy and sustainability.

1. Australia’s declining oil production with merely 3.9 billion barrels of proved oil reserves coupled with the increasing oil consumption, exceeding 1 million bpd of oil in 2011, pose a threat to the country’s energy security.

2. The world coal consumption continues to rise, especially in Australia´s prime export countries such as China and India.

How can Latrobe City act as the key catalyst in providing a solution to such critical and urgent problems?

Dirty to Mighty proposes to use brown coal to produce not only electricity but also liquid fuel as well as many other high value products, while utilizing the CO2 released during the conversion process into additional products including oil, creating a highly viable yet sustainable means of achieving energy security and economic diversification. Along the axis of the provided site, the project introduces a technological corridor of research / innovation facilities focused on the liquefaction and gasification of brown coal as well as the sequestration and conversion of carbon dioxide. Because of the high demand on coal and estimated increase in demand in the future, especially in the prime export markets of China and India, clean coal technology will have an enormous reduction on the future emission quantity at a worldwide scale. The local production of oil allows for less dependence on import, ensuring more stable energy security, and even open up the potential for export.

Honorable Mention

Hydraulic Network

Team Name: Truitt Foug Architects

Team Members: William Truitt, Carolyn Foug, Marsha Bowden, Adam Wong

Country of Origin: Texas, United States

The Latrobe Valley presents a unique landscape whereby the abundant natural resources have been historically sold for profit, first for local energy consumption and now for the global market.  Water here, in fact, is an impediment to the extraction of coal for cheap energy consumption, and so large swaths of land have been de-watered, causing the water table to drop over 50 meters. The new artificial landscape, revealing the hidden ecology, does provide an opportunity to rethink the relationship of living space to water. 

This project re-imagines the Latrobe Valley as an interconnected hydraulic network.  While the current infrastructure acts to separate uses and flows of the entire region in order to facilitate the transport of goods, a slight alteration of the larger landscape quickly transforms the region into an infrastructural space that is decidedly public and connected with the everyday living condition.  Four distinct zones along a section of the valley- Sport, Morwell, Water Treatment, and Solar Pillows describe new ways in which to take advantage of the subtractive landscape.  Together these zones create a series of interconnected water infrastructural spaces that provide power, water harvesting, and water treatment at the service of public use. The hidden and disused carbon landscape is the filter that allows public and water through the Latrobe Valley. 

Honourable Mention

Networked Ecologies: Rethinking Remediation

Team Name: Studio One

Team Members: Mona Ghandi, Carlos Sandoval, Hassan Sazmand

Country of Origin: Arizona, United States

The inevitable shifts in global climate and economical conditions have made us question and rethink the ability of the cities to resist and adapt to these changes. A city like Latrobe whose landscape, economy and social conditions are based primarily on coal based energy production is particularly vulnerable to the global and local changes.

With the coal reserves and production in decline, the social and ecological conditions in Latrobe been greatly affected. By mapping the area, several sites that are currently underutilized or to become vacant with the mine industry’s decline were found. Networked Ecologies rethinks these sites as urban and ecological connectors and as spaces that will provide robustness to the landscape.

Depending on the site location and conditions, a variety of programs ranging from landscape / mining remediation, to urban agriculture are defined. These “in-between” sites will grow and develop according to the specific conditions and uses, eventually creating a network of infrastructure that will provide robustness to the city.

This new infrastructure will provide energy production alternatives, by incorporating a wind energy generation system to the building’s tectonic. Networked Landscapes proposes an ecological remediation of the mining sites by creating built wetlands that will also regenerate the species of the area.

The selected sites provide a variety of self-sustainable economical activities creating a stronger local economy that can now provide a wider range of products to the outside economy.

Depending on their distance to vacant buildings, the project combines with them, reprogramming the buildings with community-oriented activities. The local economy depends on each other, rather than on a central hub, generating a strong economical network.

As the Networked Ecologies expand, the existing functions of the city are intensified and complemented. This new Network is ever-changing and continually growing and adapting to the existing conditions.

Honorable Mention

Fields of Synergy

Team Name: PUPA

Team Members: Justina Muliuolyte, Tadas Jonauskis

Country of Origin: Netherlands

Latrobe is facing a challenge to control its growth based on changing conditions in industry, economy and lifestyle.  Fields of synergy give unique opportunity to create exclusive and outstanding future. It is a strategy for re-inventing, overlapping and mixing transiting territories. It generates development and creates space for improvement.

There is natural exchange of land, infrastructure, mobility, people, economic activities, water, energy and waste-products. Smart management of these fields allows preparing for the future changes, recovering overused territories and improving living environment of existing. Synergy is achieved by combining, re-cycling and cascading principles.

Synergies of combining overlap economies, habitats, and activities so they can exchange knowledge, products and resources.

Synergies of re-cycling take wasted products, buildings, objects and territories to create new function and meaning.

Synergies of cascading create a cycle of re-using the rest products, rest land as a source of the other economies or other habitats. 

Latrobe 2050:  new spin off economies are developed from the mining industry; community lifestyles become unique and variable; new flexible mobility connects region into one entity; new tactics for food production is applied; renewable energy takes over brown energy; region increases biodiversity; natural resources are smartly managed.

These goals are achieved by re-adaptation of the old mines and brown fields. Empty excavated old mines give space to re-adapt and experiment.  Innovative and diverse fields of synergies are applied and showcased, where old quarries are merged with nature, urban environment and production. It is the places of the future – not past.  

Student Prize Winner

2nd Law 

Team Name: Explorers

Team Members: Carl Hong, Farah Dakkak, Brad Clothier

Country of Origin: Australia

University: RMIT University

Reimagine rural region, revolutionized by rehabilitated mines and redesigned landscape. Rebirth of reforestation and reconstruction of nature, recycled and regenerated energies. Remains are restored, to retain regional reminiscence. Reproduce opportunities for future growth through reworking and reactivation of rhizomatic infrastructure. By rebuilding an innovative residential region which integrates agriculture with industrial, Renaissance of Latrobe is now a reality.

The 2nd Law proposes the implementation of a time frame, through which the site evolves and is mediated for future growth. These stages involve the participation and expertise of local miners and the machines they use on site. The future growth of the LaTrobe Valley, takes into account rethinking the amount of carbon emissions released and employs means of reduction. Transforming the Valley into an Eco-Hub, through considering renewable energies such as wind turbines, carbon capture devices, indigenous plantations and the reduction of carbon emitted as the main contributing drivers.

By promoting diversity and expansion of local industry and economies within the Latrobe Valley the aim is to create a region that depends on a varied amount of mini-industries to fund regional growth. Creating smaller networks that function at small scales within the Latrobe Valley is vital to this, turning local produce into local food, local timber from local plantations and so forth. Tourism also has the potential to bring in substantial funding due to the close proximity of the Melbourne Metro Area.