Logan City, Australia: Creating a Green City

Living Green for Biodiversity Icon Living Green for Water Icon

AIPH World Green City Awards 2022 logo

City: Logan City
Country: Australia
Award Categories:         Living Green for Water IconLiving Green for Biodiversity Icon
Finalist: Living Green for Water Icon

* This case study was written by the city and has not been edited by AIPH

Initiative: Creating a Green City

Our city vision is City of Logan – a green city full of pride and culture. To achieve our vision of being a green city, we must create a climate resilient organisation and community. Our city contains an amazing range of natural areas including rainforests, bushland reserves, waterways and wetlands which are home to an incredible diversity of native animals and plants – some so unique and iconic, they are world renown.

Our natural areas are highly valued by our community and form an integral and important part of the identity, cultural history and fabric of our city. LCC recognises and respects the importance of a thriving natural environment in the growing region and our role in protecting and enhancing nature.

Since 2018, LCC has achieved great success in living green for biodiversity, which has included the development and implementation of our suite of Living Green for Biodiversity strategies, projects and actions.

The key underlying strategy is our City of Logan Natural Environment Strategy which outlines how we will balance growth and development with our natural environment while meeting the challenges of a changing climate. It provides a road map to ensure The City of Logan’s natural environment is protected, enhanced, connected and celebrated to provide valued spaces for people, plants and animals now and into the future and has been developed based on the community feedback received through a through a 10-month community vision process involving extensive community consultation and engagement.

Additional key highlights include:

  • Extensive stakeholder and community consultation and engagement including a ground-breaking City Visioning process providing a community led direction for our Natural Environment Strategy;
  • Delivery of an organizational environmental governance review and research into best practice options and bench marking/SWOT analysis of solutions;
  • Development of a Sustainability Policy, Sustainability Framework and Climate Resilience Policy;
  • Expansion of our private land environmental conservation partnerships program – including Land for Wildlife, Habitat Connections and Voluntary Conservation and Restoration Agreements/Covenants;
  • Implementing strategies and successfully increasing our green canopy across the city over the last couple of years while accommodating a growth rate that is one of the highest in Australia;
  • Resilient Rivers Initiative working with our agricultural sector to deliver environmental outcomes while maximizing agricultural and economic outcomes for our local producers;
  • Successful implementation of our River Visions, catchment recovery plans, river recovery projects and waterway and waterbody recovery plan;
  • Expansion of our environmental vegetation offset program reaching over 77,000 trees planted.

Incredibly, the City of Logan’s green canopy grew by 5% last year and what makes this achievement even more special and unique, is that the City of Logan is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia with very high population growth and development pressures.

Often seen as the underdog, the City of Logan has been revitalized through a positive community pride campaign, a commitment to living green, and a commitment to leading the charge on protecting, enhancing, connecting and celebrating biodiversity not just in the city, but across the region and country.

Green City Home Case Study Collection World Green City Awards AIPH Green City Briefings 2022/23


T: +44 (0) 1235 776230

E: greencity@aiph.org

Did you know?

Logan sits between Brisbane to the North and Gold Coast to the South

Addressing the urban challenge

Breadth of the issue – How are the problem(s) that are being tackled by your initiative affecting citizens/local businesses or a significant component of the local wildlife?

The City of Logan is one of the largest and fastest growing local governments in Australia. With a population nearing 342,000 and a land area of 959 square kilometres, the Southeast Queensland Regional Plan predicts the city to grow to 568,000 residents by 2041 and will need to accommodate an additional 90,000 dwellings. To support this growth Logan City Council will need to balance lifestyle, social, liveability, economic and environmental outcomes. As a large and complex organisation, Council has $6.5 billion worth of city assets and an annual budget of $940 million. Over 1,700 staff provide more than 85 diverse services to the community.

The impacts on our environment from population growth and development puts incredible pressure on our natural environment and has potentially significant impacts on biodiversity values.  This issue has been identified as a major concern for our community through community surveys conducted over the last few years.  The Logan Listens community survey canvasses the community and bushland protection, and waterway health are consistently in the top 5 concerns identified for the last several years.

Depth of the issue – How seriously are the problems being tackled by your initiative impacting the life of the citizens/businesses/wildlife concerned?

The Logan Rivers and Wetlands Recovery Plan 2014-2024 (the Plan) has been developed in direct consultation with the Logan community. It represents a shared commitment to the recovery of our waterways and a more integrated approach to catchment management. Long term, the health of our waterways and wetlands is central to ensuring a variety of ecosystem services, such as recreational opportunities, rural productivity and our unique ecosystems into the future. With the population of the City of Logan set to increase significantly over the next two decades, it is critical that we prepare for this growth and ensure that these unique community assets are enjoyed, utilised and protected for future generations.

This led to the development of the Albert River Vision and Logan River Vision – two fifty-year long-term visions for the two major rivers running through the City of Logan.

We recognise the need to secure ongoing community and political commitment to taking action by maintaining strategic alignment and connection to global, national, regional and local level goals and objectives.

With that in mind, the Logan City Council Living Green for Biodiversity suite of initiatives, which includes a Natural Environment Strategy, Logan Rivers and Wetlands Recovery Plan, River Visions, Sustainability policy and framework, Environmental Conservation Partnerships policy and Green Fleet Strategy have been designed to protect, enhance, connect and celebrate our natural environment and biodiversity with alignment to international commitments including:

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement

The power of plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits

How is the initiative shaped by scientific evidence of the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits?

A green city full of pride, opportunity and culture’. This vision will drive positive environmental outcomes through the Corporate Plan 2021–2026.

Council recognises the importance of balancing growth and our natural environment while meeting the challenges of a changing climate.

To achieve our vision of being a green city, we must recognise the importance of balancing growth and our natural environment while meeting the challenges of a changing climate.

Achieving this can be achieved through our Living Green for Biodiversity suite of policies, strategies, plans and actual real-world actions.  These provide the framework with a range of innovative, flexible, outcome focused policies and plans to deliver on our vision. Council has strategies and plans in place to protect, manage, and enhance the natural environment which respond to local needs and builds climate change resilience.

LCC took the step to include bold environmental and climate change in our Corporate Plan including:

  • Manage, maintain, and improve the ecological health and activation of our rivers and waterways.
  • Enhance our urban forest, wildlife corridor network and environmentally significant bushland areas.
  • Ensure Council’s planning scheme protects and enhances wildlife corridors and core habitat across the city.
  • Expand community incentive and education programs to encourage environmental stewardship, participation and awareness.
  • Support the community to become more sustainable and conserve and restore private land.
  • A commitment to achieve carbon neutrality/net zero by the end of 2022.
  • Continue to implement sustainability initiatives including increased use of renewable energy, energy efficient technology and carbon reduction projects
How has the city exploited the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit?

To monitor and measure these outcomes an innovative scientific based model was developed that recognises the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver multiple benefits.

To recognise this, part of the framework included the development of a city wide Ecological Significance map using multiple values, methodologies and ecological inputs including:

  • Biodiversity Assessment and Mapping Methodology
  • Common Nature Conservation Classification System (CNCCS) and Expert Panel
  • Tract size of ecological significant areas and corridors Relative Ecosystem Size
  • Ecosystem Diversity;
  • Context and connection;
  • Special Biodiversity Areas;
  • Corridor Links, Context and Connection;
  • Urban and Rural land;
  • Land bordering Environmental Parks;
  • Waterway and Wetland buffers.

By using a range of inputs, it allows us to exploit the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit.

This sets out the following natural environment and climate change strategic outcomes:

  • No net loss of biodiversity and ecological values is achieved by protecting and enhancing flora and fauna species.
  • Ecosystems of waterway corridors, wetlands and their riparian areas are protected and enhanced.
  • Vegetated areas and waterways are protected and enhanced to function as ecological links and corridors.
  • Greenhouse gas emission and the community’s reliance on greenhouse gas emitting energy sources, are reduced.

To achieve these fresh and ambitious outcomes, the following has been implemented by LCC.

  • 84.1% of the city has all native trees and wildlife habitat protected.
  • 28,277 ha of environmental and wildlife corridors mapped and protected
  • Protection of:
    • 2,633 hectares of wetlands
    • 2,177 kilometres of waterways

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

This incredible increase in green canopy is independently verified through the Greener Spaces Better Places network (https://www.greenerspacesbetterplaces.com.au/), who have prepared an annual report in relation to their 202020 Vision program titled “Where will the trees be?”


This report is based on their national benchmarking research of green cover in Australian suburbs and cities which looks at which places are gaining green cover and why.
Highlights from their 2019/2020 report include: (refer below)

A special mention is made to Logan City Council (refer Page 34 – 35) identifying Logan City Council (QLD) as the best on ground Council (suburban category), recording a significant increase in green cover alongside population and increase in hard space.  The report showcases our land acquisition program and our conservation covenants.

This is the third annual report they have prepared; previous reports are available at:

Key contributions and achievements to this fantastic achievement include:

  • Around 75 hectares of Logan City Council land is used for tree planting as part of the offset program.
  • 22,922 native plants have been planted since the River Trees Program started in 2017!
  • Since 2018, Council has purchased a range of properties for conservation, totalling over 300 hectares. We will continue to buy land to protect the bushland forever.
  • Over 84% of the native vegetation across our city is protected.
In what ways is the initiative innovative?

Key elements of our Living Green for Biodiversity suite of initiatives include:

  • Natural Environment Strategy – outlines how we will balance growth and development with our natural environment while meeting the challenges of a changing climate. It provides a road map to ensure The City of Logan’s natural environment is protected, enhanced, connected and celebrated to provide valued spaces for people, plants and animals now and into the future.
  • Environmental Conservation Partnerships Policy and Program – Supports the protection, maintenance and enhancement of our natural environment, ecological corridors and waterways through a network of focused community partnerships and targeted private land conservation initiatives.
  • Environmental Management Planning Scheme Policy – includes an innovative environmental offset process that achieves a net gain on trees in the ground where vegetation clearing is unavoidable through development.  Council has already planted over 77,000 trees funded by the development industry and has achieved a net growth in green canopy across the city over the last couple of years.
  • Climate Change Resilience Strategy with the strategic vision: That LCC, and our city’s environment, community and economy, will be resilient to the impacts of a variable and changing climate.
  • Carbon Reduction Action Plan – Sets out a framework and identifies actions to ensure our vision to become a carbon neutral and green city becomes a reality.
  • Green Fleet – Logan City Council Sustainable Fleet Strategy – sets out a roadmap outlining how we intend to transition to a greener cleaner Australian fleet.
How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?

In developing our vision, and these strategies, plans and policies, extensive community and professional consultation and engagement was undertaken.  This included:

  • Community City Visioning process – a city wide community city vision process which put our community at the heart of our future decision-making by creating a shared vision.  The Logan Community Vision was developed over a ten-month period, from September 2020 to June 2021.  The Logan Community Vision statement, themes, actions and ideas guide and influence how we deliver programs and services in the short, medium and long-term.
  • Professional and cross discipline engagement – a 6 week process where engagement and consultation through working groups, meetings and correspondence/communications with professional groups including civil and environmental engineers, health professionals, town planners, architects, ecologists, social planners, compliance and development assessment professionals.
  • Public ‘Have Your Say’ community consultation – each strategy was on Council’s have your say platform, where it was open for comment to the public and community.  Promotion included social media, posts, local newspapers and media releases.
  • Professional and community participation during the engagement phases has been extremely positive with high participation and engagement rates achieved.

LCC also recognizes the importance of community partnerships in achieving our vision and building climate change resilience – which led to the enhancement of our Environmental Conservation Partnerships – a program that provides private landholders incentives to conserve and enhance bushland and trees on their own properties.

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

As noted above, our adopted strategies and plans include a broad range of strategic objectives and implementation actions to deliver on our vision of a green city. In addition to the above, since 2018, a number of ground-breaking, innovative and bold projects have been successfully delivered which include:

  • Resilient Rivers Initiative – agricultural sector, local producers including turf farmers, – a regional program that supported land producers through restoration of waterways, planting vegetation to stabilise land erosion, separation of livestock watering from waterway banks, and included the development of a turf farm code of practice to support and guide businesses to not only achieve increased production and more efficient use of fertilizers but also to ensure run off is controlled and environmental outcomes can be achieved in partnership with economic outcomes.
  • LEAF – community education and engagement – delivery of an annual environmental festival – attended by around 10,000 community members to learn about sustainability, climate change and environmental stewardship.
  • City wide Eco Awards – including a sustainability category to recognise and celebrate community members and organisations that align with the living green for biodiversity values and protecting, enhancing connecting and celebrating our natural environment and biodiversity values.
  • Threatened species recovery – both flora and fauna.  LCC is one of the only local governments in Australia to have our own species recovery plans including ones for koala, Gossia gonoclada and Melaleuca irbyana.

Implementation, Impact and Replicability

How has the initiative had a ripple effect beyond the scope of the initiative itself, thereby demonstrating a change in the city’s and/or its partners’ way of working with plants?

Some of the initiatives that have demonstrated high levels of learning and transferability include:

  • City wide Ecological Significance Map – mapping all the land in the city with an ecological significance value – incorporating science-based data such as vegetation cover, wildlife habitat, corridor mapping, waterway and wetland mapping and threatened species sightings and habitat.
  • Environmental grants – provides over $150,000 each year to our community to deliver community led and community instigated environmental projects.
  • Environmental Conservations Partnerships – a program dedicated to supporting private landowners to protect and enhance vegetation on their property – a range of incentives are provided including funding, advice, free trees and workshops.
  • Environmental events and activities – new innovative and topical series of events are rolled out annually including our Logan Eco Action Festival – these are free events with LEAF attracting around 10,000 visitors each year from a broad range of cities and areas.  The event showcases innovations in relation to building climate change resilience, natural environment and supporting the community to develop environmental stewardship.
  • Collaborative leadership of a regional Land for Wildlife private land conservation program – involving 12 local governments which provides incentives, support and advice to private land holders in bushland conservation and ecological management.
  • Establishment of the only local government environmental offset policy and delivery program across Queensland and possibly Australia.  This innovative policy ensures a net gain of actual trees in the ground is achieved even when there is unavoidable clearing through development.
How have other cities expressed interest in the initiative, or what potential does it have to interest other cities and be customised to their own circumstances?

Logan City Council is well-placed to drive broader uptake of living green for biodiversity in Australia and across the globe, by providing case studies of our community led natural environmental and waterway strategic initiatives as well as our commitment at enhancing organisational governance in relation to biodiversity and environmental management. Some additional very transferable learnings and initiatives include:

  • Albert River and Logan River connectivity and activation plans – including river trails, kayaking and canoeing events, enhancement and installation of pontoons, waterway furniture and boardwalks.
  • Fish Habitat enhancement projects including innovative tree root ball submergence to create new fish habitat.
  • Fish barrier removal projects including one on Slacks Creek that increased the number of fish being able to migrate up stream by over 1,000%.
  • Revegetation of over 77 hectares of land with over 77,000 trees planted funded by development industry at no cost to residents.
  • Delivery of the Sustainability Policy and Framework – adopted by Council to embed sustainability in all decision-making and activities, including climate action.
  • Development of an Energy Management Framework and automated Energy Management Dashboard that:
    • allows us to monitor and track electricity use, costs and carbon emissions over time; and
    • help build organisation capacity and awareness of the value of energy efficiency
  • Delivery of a range of innovative actions to transition our fleet to a cleaner and more sustainable fleet including
  • City of Logan Carbon Reduction Strategy and Action Plan – provides a road map to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022.

Sustainability and Resilience

What efforts have been made to reduce the carbon footprint of the initiative?

Logan City Council has made a commitment to achieving a net gain of ecological values and increased habitat for native wildlife while being one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.   Council has successfully delivered a range of initiatives, on-ground projects, biodiversity enhancement programs that has resulted in a gain of green canopy across the city.

The range of adopted strategic strategies, policies and plans combine to form a holistic living green for biodiversity.  This suite of initiatives spans up to 50 years (River Visions) with a range of actions that can be sustained over time.

How have the anticipated impacts of climate change been considered?

The City of Logan has demonstrated its leadership and drive for living green for biodiversity and delivering innovative programs, projects and outcomes that protect, enhance, connect and celebrate our amazing natural environment.

LCC’s suite of living green for biodiversity initiatives not only demonstrates our commitment to biodiversity conservation but has also delivered a range of projects and initiatives that have already successfully increased our green canopy, accommodated a fast-growing population reduced our carbon footprint, achieved significant social, economic, governance and environmental outcomes, while embracing our city’s vision to be a green city full or pride, opportunity and culture.

What processes does the initiative include for it to be considerate in its use of soils and other natural resources?
  • Environmental (vegetation) Offset planting – with over 77,000 trees put into the ground based on the pre-cleared regional ecosystem of the area.  This program is fully funded by developers where they cannot avoid clearing vegetation and includes funding for 7 years of maintenance making sure the trees planted have reached a point of self-sustaining. This ensures a net gain of tree cover and habitat will be achieved in the longer term at no cost to the community.
  • An integral part of our revegetation projects is to provide traineeships for disadvantaged communities such as new migrants, long term unemployed.  The revegetation works engage trainees who are upskilled in landscaping and conservation techniques and receive a recognised qualification at the end.
  • Cedar Grove Environmental Centre which delivered Queensland’s first sustainable wastewater treatment plant. This wastewater treatment plant delivers a net environmental benefit for the surrounding catchment and provides an industry best-practice demonstration.
  • Pioneering an innovative method with the operation of a pilot facility to recover energy from biosolids (sludge) at our Loganholme wastewater treatment plant. The biosolids are dewatered and dried, before carbonised in a gasifier. The gasifier turns biosolids into biogas, a renewable energy that is used in the drying process. The biochar produced is an organic soil improver where nitrogen and phosphorus are bio-available, but carbon is sequestered. The $17 million Biosolids Gasification Project reduces the volume of biosolids by 90 per cent, saving ratepayers around $500,000 annually in haulage costs, while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Monitoring, Maintenance, and Management

How has the initiative been designed and implemented so that long-term needs for management and maintenance are reduced and can be met?

LCC has already achieved great success in delivering actions that will protect, enhance connect and celebrate our natural environment and biodiversity values not only our organisation but the community as well.  These initiatives have been designed and selected with consideration of environmental, economic, social and governance outcomes.  All are realistic achievable and ongoing monitoring has proven they are delivering.  Selected on these basis means they are designed and implemented so that long-term needs for management and maintenance are reduced and can be met.

What protocols are in place to facilitate monitoring of results?

The City of Logan’s natural environment is protected, enhanced, connected and celebrated to provide valued spaces for people, plants and animals now and into the future. 10,000 native trees and shrubs are planted annually across the City of Logan’s riverside parks. To-date council has planted more than 77,000 trees through offset funding which will be protected forever from clearing.

Incredibly, Logan City Council was named “Best on ground’’ by the Greener Spaces Better Places network for increasing the city’s green cover by 5% at a time that annual population growth was 2%. Council’s own data shows an increase in the city’s tree canopy from 41% in 2016 to 53% in 2020. This has been achieved through a combination of protecting and buying key natural areas. Most of this is achieved through regrowth of protected vegetation on private land which is driven and supported through our private land conservation partnerships program providing incentives, support and funding to private landowners to protect and enhance bushland on their properties.

How has the initiative been enhanced in response to monitoring of results?

Logan City Council’s living green for biodiversity suite of initiatives has had a considerable ripple effect particularly on neighbouring and nearby local governments.

Many of the key deliverables have regional collaboration at its core with mechanisms for enhanced/wider adoption of local nature-oriented practice and/or offer potential for customised replication in other cities.