Melbourne’s First Climathon

Melbourne Climathon

Climate-KIC master label student from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Peter Lusis, is currently on exchange at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He was lucky enough to experience the  first ever Melbourne Climathon. Here is a retrospect of the event, with contribution from Martyn Kreider, Project Officer at the EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges.

Melbourne Climathon 2016

59 cities, 6 continents, 24 hours, 1 goal

Initiated by the EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges at the University of Melbourne, hosting Melbourne Climathon was a collaborative effort between local government and community organisations. These include the Victorian Department on the Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the City of Mel
, Sustainability Victoria, the Carlton Connect Initiative, Melbourne Accelerator Program and CLIMARTE.

Melbourne’s Climathon challenge for 2016 was how can we show the impacts of people’s choices to make Melbourne more resilient and sustainable? Our four teams found highly visual, innovative and interactive ways to help people make smarter choices and change their behaviour while using Melbourne’s existing city assets, such as buildings, trees and trams as their mode of transmission. Although part of the global Climathon movement, our teams designed distinctive ideas for Melbourne, using local climate and sustainability statistics and current government initiatives to sculpt their ideas and develop a targeted solution to minimise the climate change impact on the city of Melbourne.

The Teams

The Climathon hosts were very impressed with the ideas that came out of Melbourne Climathon 2016 and agreed that they all have great potential to make lasting impact in Melbourne. I would like to congratulate the teams, especially “State of Power” with their ambitious plan to display per capita power consumption at Federation Square and their app that ranks Australian states by their sustainability score. The “Where do you stand?” campaign could initiate a national conversation on sustainability and power usage, fuelled by state rivalry. Great idea! 

Winner – State of Power

Melbourne Climathon Winner
The Melbourne Climathon winning team from left to right: Samuel Fitchett, Marcus Strang, Peter Lusis, Lele Zheng

Where do you stand? 

State of Power aims to utilise the many screens around Melbourne, such as those at Federation Square, to show power consumption and sustainability score by state. A corresponding app directs users to more information on their personal power consumption and can spark a national conversation.

Community Change

Building-up community networks

Melbourn Climathon 2nd place
Community Change from left to right: Brendan McDonagh, Cip Hamilton

Melbourne’s extensive public transportation network is a great vehicle to spread the word about local sustainability champions, groups and actions. Using trams, trains and the Myki touch-screen interface, individuals can explore Climate action in their local area to create inspired and resilient communities.


VertiGardens from left to right: Ariel de Ramos, Belinda Lee, Elizabeth Howes, Tony Luo

Vertical gardens for schools and community

Vertical gardens are a great way to teach children (and the public) about greenhouse gases, water usage and growing food. By passing sustainability knowledge to our children, VertiGarden seeks to create more connected communities through nature and our living ecosystem.

Infinity Playground

Infinity Playground
Infinity Playground from left to right: Daniel Simons, Cynthia Ng

An urban recharge café

Coffee culture is serious in Melbourne and cafes are important gathering places to develop some of Melbourne’s best ideas. But what about a café that also inspires ideas? Infinity Playground envisages an urban café that through showcasing the arts, green-design and innovative technology, can build shared values and generate new ideas for the community.

Workshops, mentors and judges

Climathon was opened by Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria, and Kate Vinot, Director of City Strategy and Places at City of Melbourne. There were four workshops throughout the 24 hours, all facilitated by experienced practitioners. Climathon MC Michelle Mannering showed never-ending energy and kept all teams well on track.

Getting Creative – Ideation session with Rob Asselman, Manager of Digital Marketing at the South Pole Group and Lisa Shadforth from Sustainability Victoria

Visualising the Idea – Developing a visual story with Rosetta Mills, CityLab Designer at City of Melbourne and Cristen Teen, Communications Manager at the Carlton Connect Initiative

Realising the Idea – A crash-course on project management with Shan Sharma, Service Designer at CityLab at City of Melbourne and Richard Day, TRaM mentor at the University of Melbourne

Pitching the Idea – Pitch like a pro with Michelle Mannering, entrepreneur and hackathon guru and Xue Qian, Development Coordinator with the Melbourne Accelerator Program and Sina Lengelsen, Communications and Marketing Manager at the EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges

Taking in all what they learned during the workshops, our four teams worked non-stop for 24 hours to create their final solution.  In the final hour of Climathon, teams had 5 minutes to pitch their solution to a panel of judges, which included:

Melbourne Climathon PanelMarian Schoen, Executive Director, EU Centre on Shared Complex Challenges

Rob Asselman, Manager of Digital Marketing, The South Pole Group

Bronwyn Johnson, Executive Director, CLIMARTE

Eyal Halamish, CEO, OurSay

Helen Hardwick, Program Manager Tourism Policy and Wayfinding, City of Melbourne


Team State of Power: Winner’s networking breakfast with CLIMATHON partners to discover and discuss implementation opportunities and the chance to take part in the EcoCity Summit Hackathon in July 2017. 

Team Community ChangeAttend the Off the Grid music festival 

Team VertiGardensOffset a year’s worth of emissions with The South Pole Group for each group member

Team Infinity PlaygroundAttend Coloursense and Foodnotes hosted by Carlton Connect initiative


Melbourne Climathon
Morning break on the LAB-14 Roof Terrace
Participants introducing themselves to the group
Helen Hardwick, City of Melbourne
Eyal Halamish, CEO, OurSay
Groups working on their ideas
MC Michelle Mannering keeping everyone awake
Stan Krpan, CEO of Sustainability Victoria
Kate Vinot, Director of City Strategy and Places, City of Melbourne
















Images: Sam O‘Reilly, Samurai AV Pty Ltd and EU Centre on S

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