Cities occupy just 3% of the Earth’s surface, yet more than half the world’s population live in urban environments. We need nation-wide plans to keep our cities cool so no one gets left behind.
Making cities greener is a vital endeavour – but one that comes with potential pitfalls.
Parts of Nairobi are already dealing with temperature increases and reduction in humidity. These conditions are associated with increases in mortality, especially in children and the elderly.
The release of a roadmap for green roofs, walls and facades in Australia can help our cities catch up with the world leaders in urban greening.
Sleep might be a key factor in the link between greener neighbourhoods and better health. A new study shows living in an area with more tree canopy improves people’s odds of getting enough sleep.
At the peak of a summer heatwave in Adelaide, an aerial survey of land surface temperatures reveals just how much cooler neighbourhoods with good tree and vegetation cover can be.
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.