- Standards Australia has kicked off a project to develop a handbook on Urban Green Infrastructure to define consistent terminology and introduce a uniform framework.
- Urban Green Infrastructure has been identified as key to building Australia’s resilience to climate crisis and COVID pandemic.
COVID has shone a light on the importance of outdoor spaces, with many of us in lockdown relying on green spaces as a circuit breaker, source of relaxation and a way to keep active.
With a growing reliance on outdoor spaces and denser populations, it’s important that urban infrastructures are developed to keep in the cool. Across the world, city centres will see an increase in temperatures by more than 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. And while cities take up only three per cent of the earth’s surface, more than half the world’s population live in cities, which is only more reason to plan for better outdoor spaces.
The best way to cool down urban spaces is through Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI), an industry dedicated to reducing heat in urban areas by providing greener and shadier infrastructure, whether through the introduction of tree canopies, parks, or yards and more. Additional research has found that green spaces contribute to decreased health care costs, crime reduction, and increased health improvement and conservation of remnant vegetation .
From the 2019 bushfires to the current pandemic, we’ve seen broad economic and environmental impacts. In recent years UGI has been identified as a critical response to both the climate crisis and COVID-19 while building community resilience.
It’s vital that infrastructure planning incorporates UGI to cool down urban spaces to ensure liveable, sustainable, and resilient cities. Governments across Australia are looking to combat urban heat through policy and plans such as Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan; Cooling the City, and NSW’s Greener Places.
“The use of UGI to mitigate the negative impacts of urban heat, improve the well-being of local communities, save energy, increase property value and extend the life of infrastructure is well established. Yet, Australia has no national framework that explains best practice for designing, implementing, protecting, and maintaining UGI,” said Ben Stockwin, Technical Committee Chair of PC-002, HB Urban Green Infrastructure Framework – design, implementation, valuation and maintenance.
“Developing a consistent methodology for UGI that can be applied across Australia is vital as significant investments are made now to build more climate-resilient communities, towns and cities for tomorrow,” Mr Stockwin concluded.
Standards Australia’s focus on developing a UGI specific handbook will provide nationally consistent definitions and terminology and introduce a uniform framework to guide planners and practitioners on how to incorporate UGI into a wide range of infrastructure projects.
“Creation of an Australian UGI framework would deliver certainty and consistency of best practice in all jurisdictions and the UGI industry, creating a level playing field for government, industry and landowners,” said Roland Terry-Lloyd, Head of Standards Development at Standards Australia.