Victoria Park, Australia

Implementation, Impact and Replicability

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of a track record of success against pursued objectives?          

Our Urban Forest achievements to date:

  • Plant and protect trees to achieve 20% tree canopy: In 2016, the Town had a canopy cover of 12% of land area, one of the lowest in Perth. Since our Urban Forest program began in 2017/18, we have contributed to an extra 2.1% projected canopy cover: https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Around-town/Environment/Urban-Forest-Strategy/Yearly-planting-progress/2021-Planting-Season-Report
  • In the past 2 years we’ve planted 6,820 trees adding 250,000m2 of projected canopy.
  • Maximise community involvement and collaboration: The overwhelming community support for our Urban Forest has prompted the Town to start ordering stock in advance of planting seasons. In 2021, we ordered 2,200 trees & 35,000 local shrubs propagated to meet the increasing demand for greening Vic Park! We’ve had to expand our seed propagation to a new nursery.
  • Increase tree diversity, favouring endemic species: a tree selection guide accommodates for an open engagement and education process. In 2021, top 5 species planted were WA natives.
  • High standard of vegetation health, soil, water quality: Green basin planting with propagated seeds, filters and strips nutrients and pollutants from stormwater before it enters the groundwater system, creates a unique ecosystem and habitat for local fauna while expanding the area of local flora protecting our unique and globally significant biodiversity.
  • Improve urban ecosystems: 37% of the Town’s 2021 planting season projected canopy was achieved via a number of Urban Ecosystem programs. We continue to identify planting areas with propagated flora and has added approximately 20,000m2 urban ecosystem area in 2 years.
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?

Changing Town’s way of working with plants:

Changing the way Partners work with plants:

  • The Town’s big redevelopment projects – with developers, capital ventures and architects/urban designers – have a strong focus on maintaining green space, driven by community consultation, with Redevelopment Masterplans including dedicated urban greening projects.
  • Our engineers are now working with innovations that incorporate greening infrastructure when they construct new roads. We’ve turned busy car laneways to tree filled spaces by applying techniques to convert vehicular lanes into a large tree filled public space and pedestrian thoroughfare. These engineered systems create suitable root zones so trees can reach their full size quicker (estimated 30 years growth in 10 years). They are also using permeable paving to allow rain water to infiltrate the paved areas and enter the root zone, helping planting successfully in Perth’s dominant nutrient poor, non-wetting Bassendean sands.
  • We’ve researched and adopted new planting techniques with specialist amelioration of the existing natural soil, smaller tree stock size planting (25/35L) and the use of Tree Wells to improve watering regime effectiveness.
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?

The current focus of the greening activities is within the boundaries of the Town of Victoria Park however through collaboration with other Local Government Authorities this could be expanded.

One particular opportunity would be the identification of ecological corridors that run across local government boundaries providing a habitat connection between various key ecological sites. The Town is currently planning an ecological corridor to connect Curtin University campus, and the Kensington bushland to the Swan River Foreshore. This will then extend along the Town’s portion of the foreshore; it could go further to include neighbouring foreshore at City of Belmont and City of South Perth, and beyond up and down the Swan River.

Additionally, through collaboration with the City of Canning this same corridor could be connected from Curtin university to the canning river and along the Canning River foreshore. This corridor approach is being delivered on a large scale in rural areas however the corridors being planned within Vic Park could be a component of a broader Perth metropolitan urban ecological corridor network.

Our Tree Cities of the World status also opened knowledge sharing sessions with other Australian cities to learn from their successes and lessons learnt (and vice versa). We were also chosen (the only Australian presentation) to share our Urban Forest community collaboration innovation to 430 global leaders at the Tree Cities of the World annual conference in 2021.