Victoria Park, Australia

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?

Increased urban density and competition for space resolved through greening infrastructure: In the Town, increased housing density represents a significant challenge to the urban forest as trees are removed from private properties during redevelopment and densification. Our seed propagation project and its implementation to “jump the fence” into people’s private gardens, parks and public spaces, verges as part of a dedicated, annual planting program allows for endemic species and urban greening to continue throughout available, existing space around Town. This helps our local wildlife and supports increased population and enables community members to live, work and play in a healthier and greener environment.

Habitat fragmentation and loss of precious flora and fauna drives policy planning: Large-scale developments predicted to support Town’s population growth is and will continue to impact our local wildlife and the health of the environment of our community members, residents, businesses, and residents. Having an Urban Forest Implementation Action Plan that has biodiversity restoration and revegetation as one of its main outcomes has guided the revision of Local Planning Policy 39 – Tree planting and Retention, Council Policy 255 – Tree Management to ensure current and future developments prioritse green spaces and urban greening (https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Around-town/Environment/Urban-Forest-Strategy/Urban-Forest-Programs/UFS-Planning-Policy-Objectives)

Build momentum, excitement, grassroots support from community: we’re using creative, engaging methods to allow community involvement in our urban forest implementation to suit a range of volunteer commitment levels and expertise. Seed propagation activities that encourage a local act for global contribution help to gain continued support, resourcing for urban greening.

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

Social cohesion: this is a key outcome of the community driven nature of the urban forest implementation. Community members working together to contribute to a greener, healthier Town of Victoria Park AND global biodiversity has been a great bonding exercise (see: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6840858025163677696).

This project has also helped to establish more constructive and collaborative relationships with community groups passionate about urban forest but with differing views that were previously strained.

Combating ‘Urban Heat Island’ effect and contributing to reduced climate change: expanding our urban forest and for endemic species to jump the fence beyond just dedicated park and bush lands can play a major impact in reducing the debilitating effects of rising temperatures on the health and activity of the urban population. Our combination of small green spaces in a densely distributed network covering many streets and homes, in combination with larger green areas in parks and gardens, is probably the most effective approach to lowering UHI intensity.

Increasing local, endemic species and overall vegetation in the Town will be an important tool in the provision of ecosystem services including carbon sequestration to combat the impact of climate change for our community members, businesses and wildlife today and into tomorrow.