Greening the concrete jungle




Melbourne buildings and greenery

For all the pleasure Melburnians take in their parks and gardens, it’s easy to underestimate how important greenery is to a city’s overall success.

To better understand why, Melbourne’s trees are being mapped, for the first ever metropolitan-wide urban forest strategy.

If that sounds ambitious, it is—we’re talking about an area that covers 10,000 square kilometres.

But in taking on the challenge, TAKE2 member Resilient Melbourne is looking to the future of the city.

“With the population of Melbourne expected to double by 2050, there is increasing pressure on space for trees and vegetation, both on public and private lands,” says Toby Kent, Resilient Melbourne’s Chief Resilience Officer.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the fast-growing City of Wyndham, in Melbourne’s west. Wyndham is a TAKE2 Founding Partner and was the first area to be mapped using specially developed software that analyses satellite imagery and topographical data.

“It’s essential that we recognise the benefits that trees and other vegetation provide for people and nature across our metropolitan city,” explains Toby.

“Doing so will help us to manage a range of chronic stresses and acute shocks that otherwise threaten the liveability and, in extreme cases, viability of Melbourne.”

According to Resilient Melbourne, these stresses include our growing and ageing population, pressure on ecosystems from development, and less social equality and cohesion. Then there is climate change.

“We face a future with more frequent and intense extreme heat events because of climate change,” says Toby. “It is undermining many of the assumptions used to plan and develop our city.”

Faced with this new reality, city planners are looking to nature for ideas that can help us adapt and thrive. One example is the use of shady trees to help cool our concrete and bitumen-heavy suburbs, while supporting the migration of native birds and animals.

Mapping Melbourne’s urban forest is just one step towards developing a long-term plan for greening the city. Given the enthusiasm for the project so far, there is cause for optimism.

This project is being delivered by Resilient Melbourne in partnership TAKE2 founding partner The Nature Conservancy, as part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative.

Fellow 100 Resilient Cities partners DigitalGlobe and Trimble are providing the satellite imagery and mapping software for the project. Find out more at resilientmelbourne.com.au or sign up for the latest news.

If you’re a TAKE2 member who supports tree planting or other urban forestry activities, don’t forget to update your actions on your TAKE2 profile and share them with your networks!