Thursday, February 26, 2015

‪#‎GetSunflowered‬ Update - Feautred in the Sydney Morning Herald and AGE Newspaper

Sunflowers in full bloom in the middle of Morwell in the Latrobe Valley

Bright yellow petals flutter rapidly in a stiff breeze, bees buzz from sunflower to sunflower and a towering sprinkler sprays a jet of water across the plants below. Passing pedestrians stop, point and admire the view.

This time one year ago many Morwell residents wore masks as they walked along the footpaths in town, to protect themselves from the smoke and ash blowing from the fire in the nearby coalmine. But today, many are wearing smiles as they walk past the picturesque block at the corner of Buckley and Church streets.

What used to be a vacant block home to a bit of rubbish and some weeds, and many years ago a petrol station, is now a striking mass of yellow sunflowers. The disused former petrol station site is now perhaps the prettiest block in town.

Labour of love: Local Morwell volunteer Lynton Azlin looks after a patch of sunflowers planted as a part of the "get sunflowered" project. This land has been vacant for 30 years. Photo: Joe Armao

The sunflowers have been planted here, and at four other sites in Morwell, Traralgon and Moe, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers and researchers from RMIT University School of Architecture and Design.
All up, a staggering 100,000 sunflower seeds were planted on the vacant Latrobe Valley sites, in the aptly named "Get Sunflowered" project. The sunflowers, in some cases nearly two metres tall, have transformed the properties, which also include old tennis courts and an old hospital site.

Morwell resident and project volunteer Lynton Azlin has been involved with the two main sites in Morwell for the past three months. He has planted seeds, pulled out weeds, set up irrigation equipment and done the watering.

Labour of love: Local Morwell volunteer Lynton Azlin looks after a patch of sunflowers planted as a part of the "get sunflowered" project. This land has been vacant for 30 years. Photo: Joe Armao

"I'm going to the sites on a daily basis, and I would probably be working 30 hours a week," he says.

But for Mr Azlin, a lifetime resident of Morwell, it is a labour of love that has been worthwhile. "We have turned that into a field of sunflowers. From an ugly site that nobody really wanted to look at, to something that people can't stop looking at," he says.

Craig Douglas, senior lecturer at RMIT's School of Architecture and Design, says the "Get Sunflowered" project is "a way of engaging one-to-one with the community, to do projects from the bottom up. What I mean by that, it's working with community groups and individuals, to help them understand how to become agents of transformation, to inform what the urban and social fabric of their city wants to be."

He says that on one vacant block in Moe sunflowers have been planted in a 2.4-kilometre spiral.

"The sunflowers are going to be beautiful. And on the sites that are already blooming, in Traralgon and in Morwell, they're just stunning visual feasts. But I guess the point I want to make is that the sunflowers are a happy by-product of actually bringing people together, making connections across the community and helping people understand that they can be an active part of their society, of their community and of the city," he says.

Mr Douglas' colleague Associate Professor Rosalea Monacella, co-director of the Office of Urban Transformations Research at RMIT, says the project is about community empowerment and engagement.

"It is also about taking these vacant, neglected sites and cleaning them up, and providing through that process of growth an ownership and also an engagement with the community," she says.

"There's been a fantastic amount of positive feedback that we've got from the project. People are actually going to visit the sites, meander through the sunflowers, take photos, take their children to actually see the sunflowers as well. It's been incredibly positive," she says.

#GetSunflowered_Update - LOVE 15 _ Garden Party @ The VRI Traralgon

LOVE 15 _ Garden Party @ The VRI Traralgon

We have the 'Love 15' garden party planned for Sunday 1st March from 1pm - 4pm.
It will be a wonderful day full of sunflowers, music, performances, face painting and food.
All welcome!! Please get in touch with us.

Photo below by Joh Blogs

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

UPDATE: Sao Paulo running out of water!!! (Reblogged- NY Times)

Severe Drought Pushes Brazil’s Largest City Toward Water Crisis

An employee of Sabesp the water utility,walked by the main dam gate of the Cantareira water system, its largest reservoir and one that provides water to about 6.5 million people.

CreditImages by Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Endowed with the Amazon and other mighty rivers, an array of huge dams and one-eighth of the world’s fresh water, Brazil is sometimes called the “Saudi Arabia of water,” so rich in the coveted resource that some liken it to living above a sea of oil.

But in Brazil’s largest and wealthiest city, a more dystopian situation is unfolding: the taps are starting to run dry.

As southeast Brazil grapples with its worst drought in nearly a century, a problem worsened by polluted rivers, deforestation and population growth, the largest reservoir system serving São Paulo is near depletion. Many residents are already enduring sporadic water cutoffs, some going days without it. Officials say that drastic rationing may be needed, with water service provided only two days a week.

Behind closed doors, the views are grimmer. In a meeting recorded secretly and leaked to the local news media, Paulo Massato, a senior official at São Paulo’s water utility, said that residents might have to be warned to fleebecause “there’s not enough water, there won’t be water to bathe, to clean” homes.

Fiber pools displayed at a shop front yard near Itu, a city severely affected by drought, about 62 miles northwest of Sao Paulo. According to the shop assistant, sales have decreased 30 percent compared to the same period last year because of the drought.

For the full article please visit the New York Times  

Morwell's digital frontier_(Reposted)

Scanned: An example of the types of images Greg Afflick is scanning to digitally map Morwell's central business district.

By Emma Watson,    Feb. 16, 2015, midnight
Reposted from Latrobe Valley Express

INNOVATION is paving the future of Gippsland's city centres as ReActivate Latrobe Valley continues connecting the community with new projects.

Latrobe Valley residents may have noticed a technician scanning the buildings of Morwell's central business district over the past fortnight.His name is Greg Afflick and he has been busy using terrestrial scanners to digitally map the area from the western end of Commercial Road to Hazelwood Drive.

It is all part of preparations for the "bigger and better" 2015 Winter Night Festival, which will see a range of artwork projected onto Commercial Road shopfronts and infrastructure.

ReActivate Latrobe Valley co-directors Rosalea Monacella and Craig Douglas said the group's intent was to build upon past projects, which they hoped could reconnect people with their town centres.

"We're going to build on the success of the projections at the last winter festival, where we had our
first go at doing projections onto buildings," Mr Douglas said. "We had a lot of fun with that and got a really good response from the public. "This time we'd like to do it again and do it better," he said.

ReActivate has asked artists to respond to each of the buildings' specifics, where even windows and doors can be used for more interactive displays.

The 26 scans were taken in three days and come with 100 million points of information, which Mr Douglas said would provide local artists with more scope for innovation. Artists who plan to submit their pieces by Monday, 23 March, can also attend a workshop on Friday, 20 March, to better understand the projectionist's tools.

"So for someone who might be creating artwork or organic candles, it's actually profiling that innovation that's going on at a local level," Ms Monacella said. "Ideally we're profiling Gippsland artists, but we're trying to draw in a range of responses to the area."

This year's Winter Night Festival - to be held in June - will have events in Moe, Traralgon and Morwell. Mr Douglas said the festival, along with other initiatives such as 'Get Sunflowered', was mainly a "celebration" of the people and their towns. ReActivate Latrobe Valley and other community groups will join Latrobe City Council to sign a Memorandum of Understanding next week.

"In a funny way, part of what we're doing is describing back to people what's good about living and working here," Mr Douglas said. "Because, you know, you forget. You drive past something everyday and it becomes normal and you forget what's special about it."

If your interested in taking part in this years 2015 projection festival please contact us, or go to the the ReactivateLatrobeValley Facebook Page >>>> to find out more, plus other  Latrobe projects that you can be involved in! 

Monday, February 16, 2015


Definitely a nice way to start the week! Thanks David Wakefield.

Please visit Reactivate Latrobe Valley's Facebook page for more

Tony's sunny disposition_(Reposted)

In the thick of it: Tony Lea joined 'Get Sunflowered' as a volunteer, but now he's a paid employee.  
 photograph tom morrison
In the thick of it: Tony Lea joined 'Get Sunflowered' as a volunteer, but now he's a paid employee. photograph tom morrison

By Emma Watson,    Feb. 16, 2015, midnight
AFTER pulling out the weeds of his former job and planting the seeds of a new career, 53 year-old Tony Lea's work life is blooming.

The Latrobe Valley resident of more than 30 years joined the 'Get Sunflowered' project late last year, after parting ways with his former employer, GippsTAFE.

"I left GippsTAFE not knowing what I was going to do; I'd have a bit of a holiday and a rest," Mr Lea said. "We happened to find the 'Get Sunflowered' site and the next day was the planting of the sunflowers. "We thought that would be a good thing to do, so my wife and two boys came down, and what we thought was going to be two hours turned out to be six or seven."

Mr Lea taught Horticulture and Conservation Land Management at the Morwell campus for 20 years.
His passion and knowledge of plants caught the eyes of ReActivate Latrobe Valley staff, who soon contacted the former teacher and offered him employment.
He now works at the Traralgon site three days a week, where he oversees the site's maintenance along with the growth of about 2000 sunflowers.

Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House, which leases the VRI Hall, allowed ReActivate Latrobe Valley to use the old tennis courts and sow the initiative's first seeds. Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House project manager Joh Lyons said Mr Lea's story showed how volunteering could create a good basis for future employment.

Since the project began on Saturday, 6 December, Mr Lea said he had noticed a "nuclear reaction" of community interest. "I guess that's the point of the project; to make the community proud of the space," Mr Lea said. "Compared to what it looked like about 18 months ago, the whole site looked unloved, but now it looks loved, which is really nice."

The former teacher now has job security for every six months the project occurs, which might involve more sites in the coming years. Once the sunflowers have blossomed, their seeds will be kept for future re-planting and the Traralgon site re-vamped to build a community garden.

ReActivate Latrobe Valley co-director Craig Douglas said the sunflowers created a "beautiful field of green" in places formerly littered with rubbish and vandalism. "But really, that's the happy bi-product of the whole thing, because it's really about connecting people and making relationships that can do things for the town," Mr Douglas said.

ReActivate Latrobe Valley will start hosting garden parties - the first with a tennis theme to recognise Traralgon's former tennis courts - on Sunday, 1 March.

For more information about sunflowers or how to get involved, head to the 'ReActivate: Latrobe Valley' Facebook page or visit

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We need your help, Boston Competition Public Vote

One of the successful entries to make it through.. vote for us Click here for vote page, and then the heart on the left hand side  
Understanding Time Water inundation is a key to the ecological and urban vibrancy of the proposal. A range of water levels are utilised to create difference in both a physical and temporal sense. At low tide water is barely...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Morwell Scan Fly-Though

We have just finished aligning the registered scan data sets, and is now ready for modelling!! However we thought we should share a quick "PreViz  Fly-Through" before we start to work on cleaning up the scans and commence with the digital model.

As stated in earlier posts:
The short PreViz film below, is a result of 26 scan locations with a total point count in the range of 100,000,000. The scans have a tolerance / accuracy with somewhere between a 3mm and 7mm, which given the scale, is far beyond what we would consider workable in Landscape Architecture / Urban Design.
From the resulting scanning data, we will be creating digital and physical fabricated scaled models for use in various projects that we are currently involved with.


On the verge of bursting at the VRI - love 15 site

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scanning Morwell

Last week we were in Morwell for three days to scan Commercial Road and some of the other buildings and civic infrastructure throughout the town, in preparation for the building of a comprehensive digital model.

In total we conducted 26 scan locations with a total point count in the range of 100,000,000. The scans have now also been registered to each other, with somewhere between a 3mm and 7mm tolerance, which given the scale, is far beyond what we would consider workable.

We will be attempting to post more on this as we develop some of the deliverables with all this survey data, but for now.... we have included some images and screen grabs from the process.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sao Paulo running out of water!!! Is now below DEAD level!!!

Recently (over the summer), we have been keeping an eye on the drought that is occurring in the South American city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Brazil drought: Sao Paulo sleepwalking into water crisis, Nov 2014" Above image is from the BBC.

To put it simply and with no exaggeration, this city of some 22 million Est people will run out of water if rain is not forthcoming in the next two to seven months. Perhaps even as much of a concern, is that roughly about 80% of the electricity is sourced from Hydro Electric Reservoirs, and no doubt is adding to the economic pressure the country is currently under which has been due to their "Economic Heart"(Sao Paulo State), now being crippled by these combined factors.

The text below has been reposted from  (please go via the link, to read their full story, or google 'Sao Paulo water shortages' for more)

The worst drought in nearly a century continues to plague Sao Paulo state and neighboring Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states in southeastern Brazil; the nearly 30 million people living in the extended municipal complex of Sao Paulo have been dealing with extremely low reservoir levels for more than a year. In fact, the water reserves have fallen so low that they are now below the dead level, the point at which the water must be pumped up to reach the pipes connecting the reservoir to the greater distribution system. In late 2014, the Cantareira system authorized the use of its second quota of dead volume. The system is at roughly 5 percent of its capacity and is considering authorizing a third quota. If usage continues and the reservoir is not replenished, projections indicate that it will run dry by September. Other reservoirs supplying the city have also declined over the past year, including the Alto Tiete, which like Cantareira has approved the use of its dead volume.