Federal Government drives to green its cities
The Australian Liberal Government (basically their version of our National Government) is making moves through its Cities Ministry (yes the Australians have a Minister for Cities while the State Governments have Ministers of Planning) to green up their cities. This is why our Government seems to do the exact opposite in removing tree protection from the Resource Management Act cue-ing the sound of chainsaws across the Isthmus and North Shore….
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Turnbull government’s plan to make cities cooler and greener
Sydney’s hottest spots
With a thermal infrared camera and an expert in urban microclimates, we discover which parts of the city sweltered the most.
If you’ve been broiling in an asphalt jungle over the past few weeks, rest assured: the Turnbull government has a plan to cool you down.
The federal government wants to increase tree cover in big cities to dial down the heat and improve health and quality of life as part of its new focus on the lives of metropolis-dwellers.
Acting Cities Minister Greg Hunt is on Tuesday expected to outline a plan to work with cities to set goals for each decade to 2050 to increase “urban canopies”, or overall tree coverage.Urban heat islands can significantly increase temperatures in cities, research shows. Photo: Paul Rovere
Mr Hunt last month took on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pet Cities portfolio following the resignation of former minister Jamie Briggs.
In a speech to the Sydney Business Chamber on Tuesday, his first since assuming the role, Mr Hunt is expected to emphasise the susceptibility to extreme heat of people living in large cities.
Urban development pressures can lead to treeless streets that amplify the “heat island” effect on hot days.“Extreme heat place[s] the most vulnerable people in our cities – including the very young and very old – at high risk, and contributes to a number of deaths each year,” his speech notes say.
As well as decade-by-decade goals to develop urban canopies, the government will “look at building rooftops with green cover”.
Mr Hunt will warn that the public purse cannot fund the infrastructure needed to keep up with rapid growth in capital cities, and will point to flexible financial arrangements being considered by the government.
These include “value capture” – finance models that aim to capture the gain in land value that property owners enjoy when public infrastructure is built nearby.
It can include property taxes, parking levies or giving property development rights to transport operators.
“One of the fairest ways to fund new infrastructure investment is for the beneficiaries of that infrastructure to contribute to the cost,” Mr Hunt will say.
The government will also seek to increase the number of jobs in residential areas, to limit commute times.
Mr Hunt’s speech notes praise the “20 minute city” model proposed in Melbourne where, through changed land-use mix, every suburb would be a short commute to jobs, schools, shops and leisure facilities.
He is expected to hail the emergence of the Greater Sydney Commission, the new organisation charged with overseeing planning and development across Sydney. It is led by the Prime Minister’s wife Lucy Turnbull.
Mr Hunt will flag a potential expansion of that model to other cities, saying it shows how all levels of government can work together to “plan for how our cities will grow”.
So Australia or at least its Federal Government understands the need for trees and green canopies. Yet our Government and even some of our own citizens fail to grasp that particular need. I noticed yesterday there was a petition under way to green our parks provided by Auckland Council as some of them lacked that very basic essential especially on hot summer days that we have had before the current tropical system came roaring through.
I know Auckland is a green city but removing what green we do have would seem very fool hardy to the point developments should work around the green not the green work their way around the development (unless there is a legitimate health and safety concern in play).
The Australians again seemed to have one-upped us in creating better cityscapes. How will we respond?
The above shot from Cities Skylines shows both the urban footprint and the extensive greening the City has as I green it up (as the city expands).