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Urban forests galore: green urban vision released

Creative and comprehensive ideas for greening Australia’s urban areas have been put forward in a plan released by 202020 Vision, a national campaign that outlines practical steps to see a 20 percent increase in urban greenery by the year 2020.

One of the key ideas in the plan is for a template for creating urban forests to be made available for councils across the country, based on the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy. A long-term federal government fund to provide the means for local councils to create their own urban forests was also included in the plan.

The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest strategy aims to increase canopy cover in the public realm to 40 percent by 2040 (an impression of the potential outcomes is pictured above), and won the Victorian Medal for Landscape Architecture in 2014.

The ideas included in the plan range from a guide for councils to learn how to reduce their tree insurance premiums to increasing the use of “permablitz” strategies (a grass roots trend where communities come together with a permaculturalist to learn about growing their own food).

Other suggested solutions for reaching the 20 percent greening goal include: the creation of an online learning tool about water sensitive urban design; the development of a Green to Gold calculator that accounts for the financial, social and health benefits of green spaces during planning processes; and setting up a collaborative online directory of good design that showcases designs that help to improve or create green spaces.

202020 Vision’s plan is largely based on ideas collected as part of the national Growing the Seeds Tour that took place in October and November 2014. The tour involved more than 25 hosted sessions across five states, and contributions from more than 500 green space experts.

The plan covered ideas that fit into a number of themes, including climate and environment, funding and investment, knowledge and skills, policy and planning as well as culture and commentary.

The projects and solutions are broken down into three categories, from the “we do” projects that can be completed within the scope of 202020 Vision’s work , to the “how to” projects that need to be replicated and scaled up, and the “needs you” projects that call for the support of private partners and investors.

According to the timeline released with the plan, all of the ideas and projects could be carried out by the end of 2018.

The 202020Vision campaign was initiated by the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, the peak representative body for commercial growers, retailers and suppliers.

To read the plan in full, click here.

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