When so much of the green space in our cities is in the form of nature strips, current restrictions on plantings are denying us the many social and environmental benefits of more diverse greenery.
Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.
Thirty tree species make up more than half of Australia's urban forests. Some won't survive climate change, so cities must plant a more diverse mix of the right species to preserve their tree cover.
Australia has well established urban design guidelines, whereas many Chinese cities don't have any – and it shows. But Australia can also learn from China.
Expanding green cities needs a holistic approach, and learning from Melbourne and Canberra is a good place to start.
Not all of the solutions to the climate and ecological crisis have to be painful.
Two trends in Australia, an ageing population and warming climate, are increasing the threat that heatwaves pose to our health. Increasing vegetation cover is one way every city can reduce the risk.
Expanding cities and farmland have created many small, often isolated patches of vegetation. Long seen as having limited ecological value, a new study shows these are vital for endangered species.
Barangaroo is an example of a development with admirable green credentials, but it is also an exclusive precinct that has played a role in displacing the disadvantaged from this part of Sydney.
Darwin's climate is getting even hotter and it's one of the main reasons people leave the city. A lot more can be done, though, to make our tropical cities safe, cool and enjoyable.
Vertical farms grow more food but use much more energy, so let's consider other kinds of urban agriculture.
The ecological value of old trees is irreplaceable for native Australian fauna. Identifying and preserving these trees in cities through smarter planning strategies is important for local wildlife.
Dense, high buildings limit the space available for urban greenery. But imaginative projects that involve the community can ensure nature and the city go hand in hand.
Research shows if Australia encourages greenery on buildings, it will reduce temperatures in the city, as well as potential for flash flooding. It also creates new habitats and socialising spaces.
Artificial islands that are now mushrooming across the ocean are regarded as 'engineering marvels'. But, little attention is paid to how these human-made structures affect sea life.
It's a good thing that cities aspire to lead the way in acting on climate change in the absence of stronger national action. But a closer look reveals the limitations of current city-based efforts.
Urban green spaces are most effective at delivering their full range of health, social and environmental benefits when physical improvement of the space is coupled with social engagement.
Australia’s growing cities face a shortage of urban parks. Often, the provision of parks is seen only as planning compliance or an accessory.
The rise of urban greening is an opportunity to recast the relationship between people and environment. Humans and non-human species are ecologically intertwined as inhabitants of cities.
Achieving green cities will require more than just canopy cover targets and central city strategies. It will need new approaches to urban planning and development.