Place-based approach to net zero - ISCouncil
Placed-based approach to net zero

Place-based approach to net zero

Monday, 30 May 2022

A place based approach acknowledges that the implementation of net zero commitments and goals will be more successful if the solutions both relate to the unique context in which they are applied, and mobilise localised resources, action and engagement.

Place based solutions to net zero provide multiple benefits such as:

  • Mobilising enthusiastic local investment and resources on locally applicable solutions that are not otherwise visible to the market, thus accelerating much needed scale-up of net zero solutions.
  • Accelerating community buy-in to the lifestyle changes needed, through an understanding of local concerns and motivations.
  • Increasing the opportunity and likelihood of success to achieve net zero mandates.

The need for local action

All branches of government have critical roles to play in the success of a net zero future in Australia and New Zealand. With mandates across government and major centres of production and consumption, an estimated 70% of Australia’s carbon emissions come from the infrastructure sector. Many tiers of government are already committed to a place based approach – we need to leverage this to make sure that local governments and communities have the power to directly influence many of these emissions.

A systems approach

Implementing net zero solutions in the infrastructure sector is complex. When change is needed, especially on the scale required to achieve net zero, a systems approach that looks at the interconnectedness of infrastructure rather than at the sector and sub-sectors in isolation, has the potential to unlock barriers.

The business case

A local systems approach can derive previously untapped value by capitalising on co-benefits that are only visible or implementable at a local level, but generate resilience across the whole system. This kind of approach can reduce the overall whole-life cost. Treating a community or urban centre as a system-of-systems can help authorities understand where potential points of failure exist and highlight the best places to instil new resilience, resulting in lower long-term costs.

Place based solutions

Place based solutions engage local solutions to net zero that are based on the principles of co-design, cross-sectoral systems thinking, outcomes focus and creating new potential not previously evident from a top-down approach. Successful net zero solutions that are place based connect all urban systems; buildings, infrastructure, utilities, transport, water and waste together with digital solutions. This same approach is also applicable to climate resilience.

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