AECOM's Rouse Hill landscape restoration

The 202020 Vision, an initiative to grow Australia’s urban green space by 20 per cent by 2020, has launched a national plan to help reach its goals.

The plan collates the knowledge of 500 greening experts from across business, government, academia and the community sector consulted during the initiative’s Growing The Seeds tour into a document that showcases “proven, scalable and replicable” solutions to greening the urban landscape.

“The 202020 Plan shows if you get industry and government leaders together to share their collective wisdom they can create simple, impactful pathways to reversing the urban greening crisis – it truly is collaborative impact at it’s best,” Dr Anthony Kachenko, research and development team leader and portfolio manager at Horticulture Innovation Australia said.

After consulting with stakeholders, 20 pathways were identified to reach the 2020 goal.

Solutions include a “green to gold calculator” to help make the business case for urban greening; a simple soil testing kit to help green space creators better understand their unique soil requirements; an online resource that showcases best practice design solutions that improve existing or produce more urban green space; and an aggregation of policy tweaks at a local, state, and federal level that members of the 202020 Vision community would like to be adapted and changed, or done better.

“Through the plan we now have the start of a compendium of urban greening strategies that is a must-read for every business, level of government and community group in Australia that is playing a role to see our cities become healthy, productive, thriving places that can mitigate the effects of climate change.” Dr Kachenko said.

One of the most often cited projects was the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy, which will see the council increase canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040.

The 202020 Vision is now working to create a “White Label Urban Forest Strategy” for other local governments to utilise, with a step-by-step plan to replicate Melbourne’s success.

Dr Sheryn Pitman, who works on the Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Landscapes Project at the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, and who contributed to The 202020 Plan, said city planners, industry and governments were starting to understand the need to reimagine urban habitats.

“Each year more of us live closer together in large towns and cities and we are facing climatic and environmental pressures with growing alarm,” Dr Pitman said.