Living Cities Workshop report
The Living Cities Workshop was held at Parliament House in February. Joanne Aquilina, the LNA’s CEO, and Matt Leacy, the LNA president, were pleased to represent the LNA at this ground-breaking event.
The workshop brought together representatives from a variety of industries to discuss both the importance of and the means by which green infrastructure can be introduced and enhanced in urban environments and cities. Architects, landscapers, water management specialists, engineers, scientists, researchers, land managers, policymakers, real estate professionals, politicians and government advisers were all present to contribute their expertise and perspectives to the discussions.
Hosted jointly by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and Engineers Australia, the workshop was a great success! With such a wide range of parties it was extremely encouraging to see such a collaborative attitude, and the LNA was proud to become a member of the Living Cities Alliance that was formed to advocate to government on issues regarding the greening of our cities.
Here is a summary of the main outcomes contained in the report of proceedings:
- Green infrastructure was defined as ‘natural vegetation and vegetative technologies like urban forests, greenways, restored and constructed wetlands, green roofs, green walls, bioswales and more that provide society with benefits like enhanced liveability, improved energy efficiency, improved air quality and water quality, reduced flooding and increased recreational opportunities’.
- The Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, Paul Fletcher, confirmed the federal government’s commitment to establishing goals to 2060 for increasing tree coverage in cities.
- Adam Bandt, Member for Melbourne, called for growing the natural ecology of cities by increasing roof gardens, vertical plantings, community gardens and people growing their own food.
- The Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, reaffirmed Labor’s intention to introduce Australia’s first national urban policy, prioritising the health of parks, open spaces and urban waterways.
- The various industry bodies worked on identifying areas for collaboration in building national green infrastructure leadership. Areas of alignment were used to determine funding opportunities, in-kind support, incentives and knowledge sharing, as well as discussing the development of policy campaigns, goals, milestones and targets for implementing green infrastructure.
A five-point plan was developed for implementing national living infrastructure:
- Establish a National Living Cities Fund for green infrastructure investment across the country.
- Develop living infrastructure as an asset class (or equivalent) aimed at having green infrastructure formally recognised by Treasury.
- Develop a Local Government Green infrastructure package, created and developed by local governments throughout Australia, to elevate the priority of green infrastructure strategies.
- Design and implement National Green Streets and a ‘Grey to Green’ pilot program to redefine the role and design of road corridors that express the full potential of environmental, social and economic benefits of green infrastructure.
- Introduce Minimum SITES Ratings for federally funded projects to build a culture of comprehensive landscape assessment and strategy development for all federally funded infrastructure projects.
The full report, including a full list of members of the Living Cities Alliance, is available from www.aila.org.au.
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