All parks are not equal. The response to the opening of golf courses to the public during the COVID pandemic shows the quality of green open space is a big issue for city residents.
Some publicly accessible spaces are actually privately owned public spaces such as Brisbane’s popular South Bank city beach and streets scene.
As you walk about a city are you in public or private space? The line is often blurred.
Even the standard grassed nature strip has value for local wildlife.
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.
Sea Line Park, one of the shortlisted entries in the competition to design a new park for the Melbourne of 2050.
Future Park Design Ideas Competition
Some might scoff at the free-ranging ideas sparked by a competition to design future parks for Melbourne. But the legacy of a radical idea to green a CBD street in 1985 shows why we need such thinking.
Imagine Hyde Park in Sydney without its tree cover … the impact on this space and the many people who spend time in it would be profound.
Cities around Australia have plans to increase their green space, but new research shows not all green spaces are equal. Good tree cover is better than grassed areas for residents' mental health.
Parks are places where children make their own decisions, explore their imaginations and expand their abilities.
Parents are more willing to let children do their own thing in parks. It's a chance for children to make their own decisions, explore their abilities and imaginations, and weigh up risks.
Rob Stokes, pictured at the swearing in of the new ministry, is New South Wales’ first minister for planning and public spaces.
New South Wales now has a minister for public spaces, a nod to their importance to the life of a city. But not all is well with public spaces and some issues demand the minister's attention.
Being in a park tends to make people feel more positive, although the time of day and the season also affect their moods.
The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Overflowing bins are one way to spoil the amenity of public space, but sensors can now alert councils when bins need emptying.
Researchers are installing sensors to collect data about the use of public spaces. This can improve the management and public amenity of these places, but will users see the technology as intrusive?
Historic investments in green open space along the Yarra created a legacy of liveability in Melbourne.
Australian cities are experiencing the third big wave of growth in their history. The response in the past was planning and investment in green infrastructure, and it's time to do the same again.
Campo Santa Maria Nova, in Venice, is a fine example of a compact, human-scale European plaza.
Done right, a plaza can bring life and a sense of identity to an area. So why has urban design in Australia neglected the town square in favour of green space, and what makes for a successful one?
Children’s right to play outdoors depends on them having access to safe and inclusive public spaces.
For a public space to be seen as safe, welcoming and accessible, a diverse range of people need to actively use it. That's why any space-changing project needs to engage broadly with the community.
Perth has long had many fine parks but is losing vegetation cover in a band of increasingly dense development across the city.
A new study shows major Australian cities are suffering an overall loss of green space –
although some areas are doing better than others.
A drain carries water but does little else, but imagine how different the neighbourhood would be if the drain could be transformed into a living stream.
Drains take up precious but inaccessible open space in our cities. Converting these to living streams running through the suburbs could make for healthier places in multiple ways.
Cities and their residents’ needs in public space have changed, but the type and function of the furniture are stuck in the past.
With cities becoming more dense and housing more crowded, people rely more than ever on well-designed public spaces, so why hasn't the furniture changed with the times?
Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas.
Marcus Jaaske from www.shutterstock.com
Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents' health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
The Airds Bradbury residential development has open spaces but these lack the amenities of public parks.
New research shows many good intentions for creating urban environments that promote good health were not carried through. The solutions start with engaging more closely with residents themselves.