A lack of both federal policy and explicit support from rating tools like NABERS and NatHERS are two of the biggest obstacles to increasing the level of greening in urban areas, according to new research by Josh Byrne & Associates for the 202020 Vision.

Gregory Priest, project manager – policy & strategy, Josh Byrne & Associates, said the gap in federal policy had been acknowledged by the Australian Infrastructure Plan, the Smart Cities Plan and The Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, however, they did not provide concrete recommendations for action.

Excessive clearing, poor planning decisions on the part of state and local government and lack of space within developments were also pinpointed as issues.

“The research found change needs to be driven from a top-down and bottom-up approach in order to truly succeed,” CLOUSTON Associates director Crosbie Lorimer said.

“Ultimately however, it will be leadership from a national policy level that will eventually drive change, even if it may inevitably take local and state level influence and pressure to bring that about.”

Cathy Oke from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub at the University of Melbourne, who is also a City of Melbourne Greens councillor, said implementing clear guidance for the provision of adequate green space requirements within state level urban land use and development policies would be of immense assistance to local governments.

This would provide them with a firm policy basis so they can work with developers to provide sufficient green space in our communities, she said.

“Additionally, embedding urban green space protection and enhancement principles in existing national, state and territory legislation, and encouraging developers and architects to integrate green space needs within urban building design and construction practices would further assist in creating a more coherent understanding of green space,” Dr Oke said.

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