Net Zero Perth


It’s time to dust off earlier attempts to put Perth on a sustainable trajectory and create a new roadmap for the future of Perth

By Hon Brad Pettitt, MLC, Member for South Metropolitan

Cities matter. 2, 50, 70 ‒ these three numbers succinctly sum up why. Cities take up just 2% of land mass and over 50% of the world’s people now live in them but an extraordinary 70% of global carbon emissions are linked to cities.

A recent report in Scientific American stated that: “Residents of just 100 cities account for 20 percent of humanity’s overall carbon footprint.” As Gardoit said: “In cities lies the future of the planet”.

While Perth is a relatively small city by global standards in terms of population, in terms of its physical footprint and carbon footprint it is big even by global standards.

This disproportionate impact and unsustainable trajectory was a key driver for the original work by Senator Scott Ludlam including #designperth and WA2.0.

The motivation for #designperth and the suite of WA2.0 documents was to create a joint vision – with unexpected collaborations – but with a focus on how to create a more connected, liveable, and sustainable Perth.

The #designperth study summarised key challenges of Perth’s urban development and growth pattern and provided a suite of policy solutions based on Greens WA policy.

It built on the findings of Transforming Perth (2013) to provide examples of what sustainable, world-class designed infill could look like, focusing on the optimal development options for sites along some of Perth’s key transport corridors.

These were exciting blueprints of how Perth’s development could create a connected, liveable, and sustainable Perth in the future.

Now in 2022, we believe there is great value in revisiting and updating these excellent reports with the latest data, policy recommendations, and design examples and also with a particular focus on how this might assist the transition to a Net Zero Perth. This is on the back of the latest IPCC findings that show that climate change action must be highly ambitious this decade but also that mitigation options are available to slow global heating to close to 1.5 degrees Celsius if we act now.

Since the last WA2.0 reports, we have seen some successful examples of sustainable developments, including White Gum Valley and East Village at Knutsford, and larger communities internationally living by One Planet Principles.

We have also seen a major rewrite of the State Government’s Residential Design Codes, including the Medium Density Code, and major investment in public transport via Metronet.

Despite these encouraging shifts towards creating a more sustainable urban form, unfortunately, many of the design, policy, and planning principles that were focused on in the 2016 report haven’t been achieved. We’d like to understand why and to build on the previous report to create a new roadmap for the future of Perth. 

With the growing need to address climate change while sustainably accommodating 3.5 million people in Perth by 2050, there is a key opportunity to change the direction of Perth’s urban development in a way that holistically addresses transport, housing supply, affordability, sustainability, and livability.

NZP will articulate the benefits of a better connected, more livable, and sustainable, zero-carbon Perth at a range of scales: the metropolitan scale, the neighbourhood scale, and the household scale. It will look at how energy, transport, and our built form influence not only their carbon footprint but also their livability and overall sustainability.

If you would like to know more about Net Zero Perth or even get involved, then please feel free to get in contact.

Header photo: Perth skyline as seen from West Perth. Calistemon, Creative Commons 4.0