Lennox Head integrating ecological and built communities in a coastal village
Motloch, John L.
Marlow, Christopher M.
Addressing how coastal villages interact with their environment is an important facet of creating an ecologically sustainable future. This project seeks to integrate healthy natural systems and human development in the town of Lennox Head, which lies on the northern coast of New South Wales, Australia. The small village faces a number of compelling ecological issues: much of the forest ecosystems are gone, Seven Mile Beach is receding, and Lake Ainsworth is signifi cantly degraded. In light of the town’s expected growth in population, these issues are addressed through a town master plan that creates a framework for intelligent growth, green infrastructure, and restorative landscapes. The project also addresses these issues through the design of the Surf Life Saving Club site which will serve as a model for ecologically sustainable design and engage residents and tourists in the restoration process. Ecological restoration efforts must be concerned with creating a holistic, diverse ecosystem that interacts with social and cultural needs in an ever-adapting process. These restoration efforts in the vicinity of Lennox Head focus on the beach, the coastal freshwater lake, and the remnants of littoral rainforest. Dune restoration rather than seawall construction on Seven Mile Beach is the most effective and environmentally sound solution of dealing with its erosion issues. To improve the lake’s water quality and reduce erosion, green stormwater management strategies including fi ltration swales, infi ltration basins, and pervious paving have been implemented. The shore is also revegetated with natural wetland and upland communities. Along the coast in town, littoral rainforest communities are also replanted. To address the ecological sustainability of the town infrastructure itself, strategies included increased density development, native landscaping, a strengthened multi-modal public transportation system, stormwater management, local wastewater treatment, and various types of green infrastructure. To foster a sense of connection between people and nature, an anthropocentric viewpoint to ecological sustainability guided the project to capitalize on the village’s natural beauty, implement community food production, and introduce public education on ecological sustainability. Transforming Lennox Head benefi ts the natural environment and also benefi ts the community through preserving its natural heritage, protecting the cultural landscape of Seven Mile Beach, and increasing the community’s quality of life. Implications of this project extend beyond its direct physical benefi ts to Lennox Head. Since Australia has over two hundred coastal towns, this project can readily serve as a model for sustainability for other small, Australian beach communities, and potentially others around the world.