Green Visions: Nature as infrastructure

Architecture AU

 Aerial view of Centennial Park, Sydney. Image: Hamilton Lund, Destination NSW

Aerial view of Centennial Park, Sydney. Image: Hamilton Lund, Destination NSW

A number of recent industry campaigns and major policy documents from both state and local government levels promote nature’s critical role in supporting economic prosperity, health and wellbeing.

Although much has been written about a green infrastructure design-led approach for urban environments, it was not until recently that major policy documents have included measures that promote nature as a key driver for the built environment. On both state and local government levels, policy and planning directives increasingly reflect the acceptance of nature-as-infrastructure’s critical role in underpinning economic prosperity, health and wellbeing.

The Sydney Green Grid project

Sydney’s population is forecast to increase 80 percent by 2054, with an additional three million people living and working in metropolitan Sydney. As density increases, the key question is: how can we shape the built environment so as to ensure that Sydney remains one of the world’s most distinctive and liveable cities?

In acknowledging green space as a key hallmark of liveability, A Plan for Growing Sydney promotes the creation of a network of high-quality green spaces that connect town centres, public transport networks, the harbour, rivers and major employment and residential areas – the Sydney Green Grid.

The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy

Melbourne’s urban forest is a critical element of the city’s fabric, liveability and cultural heritage. However, more than a decade of drought, combined with the impact of severe water restrictions, has left the city’s urban forest in a state of unprecedented decline, with an estimated loss of thirty thousand trees, or 44 percent of the tree population, over the next twenty years.

Developed in 2012, the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy establishes a strategic framework to create a sylvan legacy for current and future generations, achieved by planting a forest that is diverse, robust and resilient in the face of climate change, urban densification and the compounding effects of urban heat islands.

The national 202020 Vision campaign

The 202020 Vision campaign is a collaborative plan for a 20 percent increase in Australia’s urban green space by the year 2020. To achieve this, the campaign brings together industry, government and individuals by providing them with the knowledge, resources and networks necessary to meet this shared goal.

Started in 2013 by Nursery and Garden Industry Australia and Horticulture Innovation Australia, 202020 Vision has grown to include over two hundred and fifty partner organizations and two-thousand-plus individuals participating in one hundred and fifty (and growing) listed projects throughout Australia. The roadmap shaped by the campaign team involves six steps: create a network, promote the benefits, identify the issues, unearth the solutions, write the pathways and prove that it is possible.

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