202020 Vision tour
202020 Vision – a national initiative to increase urban green spaces by 20 per cent by 2020 – is back on the road for their biannual Australian urban forestry road show.
The last national tour, attended by over 450 urban greening professionals, confirmed the key barriers to increased urban greening was the implementation of greening strategies, and new research from 202020 Vision has revealed this can be partly attributed to a lack of support from the community.
The Growing Together tour will launch a new community engagement kit, aiming to address these communication barriers and help councils to successfully implement urban greening strategies that motivate the community.
The kit includes a comprehensive 10-step guide to aid meaningful collaboration and change and a ready-made campaign that councils can use online and in the real world. The kit includes posters, signs and artwork for attaching straight to trees, plus advertising assets. And best of all, it’s all free to use and easy to customise for each council.
The recent attitudinal study of 1600+ Australians on green space revealed while the majority of people (92 per cent) support urban greening, most (72 per cent) don’t know if their local council is actively pursuing the expansion of urban green space in their area and over half (55 per cent) are unaware of who looks after their local green spaces.
Valli Morphett, CEO of the CoDesign Studio said, “These results suggest councils need to engage more with their communities to explain their role and current activities regarding urban green space to garner their support.”
The study found most people are either unwilling, unable, or indifferent to volunteering in the maintenance of urban green spaces (59 per cent) or in lobbying local government to increase the amount of this space (67 per cent).
“There has long been a disconnect between community action and council initiative, despite both groups prioritising green space for broadly the same reasons including aesthetics, recreation, mental and physical health benefits,” said Morphett.
“Community members predominantly value green spaces for how they directly and positively impact their daily lives, in terms of health opportunities for leisure.”
The study has found one of the core issues is councils and developers aren’t speaking the same language with each other about green space and prioritise different benefits; meanwhile this is lost on community altogether with less than 25 per cent of those surveyed understanding the majority of terms used by councils when they communicate their urban greening plans.
By speaking with residents in a way that resonates with their priorities, and giving them accessible ways to participate in the conversation on green space, councils can achieve meaningful and lasting collaboration.
Council leading the way:
Various councils across the country have successfully worked with local communities to implement urban greening programs by creating ownership of and engagement with environmental initiatives, including the City of Brisbane, Queensland, City of Vincent, Western Australia and Waverley Council, New South Wales.
The City of Brisbane’s tree giveaway program has been an approachable way to encourage the community to think about how they can play a role in greening their suburb, and over the last 10 years, has provided over 600 000 plants and trees.
Waverley Council’s new Living Connections initiative aims to connect habitat corridors throughout the local government area, working with residents to create fauna-friendly gardens and providing them the autonomy to survey bird visitation and maintain their new plants.
The City of Vincent’s adopt-a-tree or verge program encourages residents to sign up to care for a specific tree or verge within their community, providing ownership over public spaces and allowing individuals to get involved without having to invest in or change their own space. The initiative has also been great for renters and apartment dwellers, as greening isn’t always an easy option.
These are just three examples that could be used as a blueprint for other local governments.
To be part of the conversation and to learn more about how to create greener, healthier and more liveable cities head to 202020 Vision.