Governments at all levels across Australia are recognising the benefits that green infrastructure can bring to our cities, a leading agency being the City of Melbourne. The city’s Urban Forest Strategy, released in 2012, is internationally recognised as being at the forefront of green infrastructure planning and delivery.

Fellow AILA National Council member Ashley Sheldrick and I recently discussed the Greening the West Strategy, which was produced by a coalition of local councils from the west of Melbourne together with City West Water, Melbourne Water and other state government agencies. It is a regional strategy with the aims of increasing urban greening and improving the quality of open spaces across the western Melbourne region.

Greening the Pipeline, a major project supported by Greening the West, was recently launched by Creative Suburbs and Wyndham City Council, City West Water, Melbourne Water and VicRoads which plans to create a 27-kilometre long linear parkland along a disused and heritage listed main outfall sewer. Once complete, the linear park will connect communities, education facilities, and commercial and arts precincts between Brooklyn and Werribee.

While these strategies are to be lauded, particularly when they inform policy and on-the-ground action like both the CoM Urban Forest Strategy and the Greening the West Strategy, policies and actions from a range of agencies continue to compromise these strategies.

Three recent examples from Victoria highlight these issues in different ways.

Melbourne Water will soon be replacing a major pipeline along St Georges Road in Northcote. The pipeline sits within a wide reserve which features an avenue of 400 mature deciduous trees which will be removed as part of the pipe replacement works. Melbourne Water had no plans to replace the trees until the activism of local residents through a public campaign and petition forced the replacement of lost trees into the project scope.

Given that Melbourne Water is a key agency in the Greening the West project (and has a strong track record of delivering quality passive open space associated with their waterway and wetland assets), there is an opportunity for the agency to have the same commitment to delivering positive urban and landscape design outcomes for asset renewal located in urban environments on this project, which they are not currently considering. To read more click here.

Making cities greener will be discusses at The 9th Making Cities Liveable Conference; Generating a mood for change to be held at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park from the 27-28 June 2016.

The Making Cities Liveable Conference supports improving the quality of life in our capitals and major regional cities, focusing on healthy, sustainable, resilient and liveable cities and will provide a platform to discuss, collaborate and learn. To view the Conference Program CLICK HERE.

To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.