Summer reads from 2016

Planning some down time over summer? Get some great reading under your belt with this selection from the books we’ve reviewed in Sanctuary over the past year.

dezeen-book-of-interviews-christmas-2015_dezeen_04-200pxDezeen Book of Interviews: Architecture, interiors, design

Edited by Marcus Fairs, Dezeen

Dezeen Book of Interviews makes for a fantastic read. It contains selected interviews with 45 leading figures in architecture and design conducted for the Dezeen website between 2008 and 2014. Read the full review >

birdscaping-200pxBirdscaping Australian Gardens: Using Native Plants to Attract Birds to Your Garden

George Adams, Penguin

Birdscaping is a comprehensive reference which offers guidance on bird species identification, and on the growing and maintenance of plants to provide food, shelter and nesting for birds. Read the full review >

permaculture_city-200pxThe Permaculture City

Toby Hemenway, Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green publishes fantastic books about organic gardening, permaculture, ecology, DIY, and sustainability. The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience (2015) by Toby Hemenway is no exception. Read the full review >

the_terrace_house-200pxThe Terrace House: Reimagined for the Australian Way of Life

Edited by Cameron Bruhn and Katelin Butler, Thames & Hudson

With many well-designed buildings, floor plans and beautiful images, this book would be of interest to those in the throes of planning a new home or addition. Read the full review >

planning-melbourne-200pxPlanning Melbourne: Lessons for a sustainable city

Edited by Michael Buxton, Robin Goodman & Susie Maloney, CSIRO Publishing

The population of Melbourne is exploding, with an estimated 1.6 million extra homes needed by 2050. The editors are all top of their fields: Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning at RMIT University, is an expert on peri-urban development and environmental policy; Robin Goodman, Professor and Deputy Dean of Sustainability and Urban Planning at RMIT, has extensive knowledge of housing and planning policy; Susie Moloney is a senior research fellow and lecturer with the School of Global Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. The book examines housing affordability, transport choices, protection of green areas and heritage and urban consolidation. Planning Melbourne explores the history of planning since the war years, with a focus on the past 20 years and the ways in which key government policies have shaped the city. While it has Melbourne as its focus, this is a useful book for anyone interested in issues of urbanisation, governance and planning.

review_bee-friendly-200px-borderThe Bee Friendly Garden: Easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow

Doug Purdie, Allen and Unwin

Anyone familiar with Peter Carey’s classic novel Bliss will know the difficulty Honey Barbara has with starving bees. A lack of flowering plants, due to land clearing and drought, forced her to travel ever farther seeking food for her hives. This is, sadly, a common issue in Australia; bee populations can become marooned in food deserts among the expanding suburbs. Doug Purdie has previously written informatively about keeping bees, but has now penned a revealing new book on how to create bee-friendly gardens, including selecting plants that can adequately support bee populations. He explains why these insects are beneficial to our gardens, but also points to their role in keeping urban ecosystems healthy. The book is attractively illustrated with photographs, and presents simple challenges that we can all take on – such as building insect hotels!

review_eco-house-design-guide-200pxThe Eco-Home Design Guide: Principles and practice for new-build and retrofit

Christopher Day, UIT/Green Books

For readers of Sanctuary and Your Home, many of the concepts in this newly released guide to sustainable building will be familiar. However, with a plethora of simple diagrams, clear explanations and even poetic language, Christopher Day’s contribution to this body of knowledge is a valuable one. Examples in the book are generally from Europe and the UK but, with many of the older buildings in Australia’s major cities of a similar age and style to those he refers to, Day’s insights into how to improve the environmental performance of existing housing stock are broadly applicable. For home renovators and builders in southern states, there are tips on appropriate materials, and impressive effort paid to cheat-sheet style ‘key points’ which will suit speed-readers. This is a thorough design guide that returns to first principles, and explains well why each of us should take whatever steps we can to improve houses for comfort and efficiency in a changing climate.

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Composting toilets can save up to 60,000 litres of water a year for an average home.

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