14 July 2012

Revisioning Newport Workshop - Key Thoughts and Ideas from the Festival

The visioning workshop to imagine living in a greener and cleaner Newport was attended by 25 festival participants. After a brief introduction involving a description of the Transition Town concept and a social exercise to make acquiantances, 3 working groups were formed to quickly brainstorm ideas from the prompting question "if you could wave a magic wand, how would you want Newport to look in 2020, 8 years from now?"

A surprising number of common themes arose after 10 minutes of discussion. Every group wished for less cars, better bike paths, and better public transport. All groups envisaged more edible gardening, including community gardens, street and verge gardens, more fruit and nut trees, and community orchards. Other common desires were the reclaiming of used industrial land for community purpose, less waste generation and more recycling, greater community participation in community centres and local enterprises, more sharing of resources and better work/life balance, and interest in locally generated renewable energy.

After reviewing the thoughts of each group 5 common themes were identified. Participants were then invited to choose their favourite idea for a further 10 minutes of imaginative brainstorming. The themes were Social Life, Local Energy, Local Food, Transport, and Less Waste.

The Social Life group imagined building on local resources and organisations to engage and communicate with more sections of the community, the creation of a tool sharing facility, a local film club and a community newsletter.

The Local Energy group envisaged a local community owned power generator using solar panels on the roofspaces of large community assets with some simple but empowering community financing arrangements.

The Local Food group could see grand designs for community gardens and orchards, street food gardens throughout the town, community shared chooks, water and land sharing, food sharing through weekly markets and swaps, more community picnic spots and even a children's farm that emphasises the source of food.

The Transport group thought through better bicycle usage support and considered greater provision of local services within walking or cycling distances.

The Less Waste group could see community composting facilities, support for local traders to compost their waste, school recycling programs, refunds to encourage recycling, encouragement of greater reuse of resources, and a complete rethink of waste generation, including reductions of packaging and dealing with waste locally.

Transition Hobsons Bay are a grassroots community group inspiring and creating a more sustainable future. The workshop was a fun, interesting further small step along this journey.

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