NATIONAL TOUR TO TACKLE OUR CITIES DECLINING GREEN SPACES

MEDIA RELEASE

9 October 2014
NATIONAL TOUR TO TACKLE OUR CITIES DECLINING GREEN SPACES

Announced today: A national tour tasked with tackling Australia’s decline in urban green space is heading to our major cities to gather the solutions to reverse this trend, with the first date kicking off in Adelaide (14 Oct).

The Growing the Seeds Tour is the first time in Australia a national event series, crowdsourcing expert solutions to increase urban green space, has ever been conducted.

The announcement of the tour from the 202020 Vision comes at the same time as a report published in Environmental Pollution by CSIRO Ecosystems Sciences finding if green spaces in our cities were doubled, heat wave related deaths in the elderly could be cut up nearly 30%.

The report funded by 202020 Vision partners, Horticulture Australia and the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA), looked specifically at Melbourne but has insights relevant for many our major cities, “as we head towards summer, which is predicted to be one of our hottest on record, we know that most cities will be grappling with the ongoing issue of how to reduce temperatures and unburden themselves from urban heat island effect,” said Robert Prince, Chief Executive Officer, NGIA.

Despite the known benefits of increased green space such as, mitigating climate change, creating healthier and happier communities, and making people more productive, we also know there are a range of specific obstacles to seeing this increase, according to research by CSIRO.

Climate, health and productivity in relation to urban green space, will be addressed by the Growing the Seeds Tour in the aim of uncovering the solutions and pathways to how these issues will be overcome by 2020.

The tour will work with some of Australia's most well-known experts and leaders in urban green space from all-levels of government, business, academia and not-for-profit sectors, “Encouraging a solutions-orientated discussion between these sectors is a major aim of the tour, along with demonstrating that even though there are a wide range of variations across every state and territory we can work together to develop a national action plan to take us into next decade,” said Prince.

These geographical variations, and how our major cities are grappling with urban green space challenges, have been recently highlighted in the 202020 Vision report, Where Are All The Trees, which is a first-of-its-kind research report conducted by University of Technology, Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures.

The report analysed tree canopy cover in 139 of most urban, dense, local government areas, showing a range of complexities in the benchmark study, “The report kick started a range of conversations amongst councils and industry groups which has further demonstrated the hugely complex planning, geographical and climate-related factors that challenge councils, business and communities in this sector,”

“But it has also highlighted a plethora of solutions that despite our geographical distances may be shareable and scalable, and its this insight that is driving our tour - to gather these solutions and share to all in the form of a specific action plan,”

“Many of the councils in the iTree report, including those with the least amount of tree canopy cover, will be directly engaging in the Growing the Seeds Tour and we are looking forward to tapping into their strategies and best practise solutions.” concluded Prince.

Adelaide’s announced expert tour facilitators include:

•Dr Jenni Garden | Griffith University
•Mr Stuart Pope | Senior Urban Designer City Design & Transport from Adelaide City Council
•Dr Sheryn Pitman | Green Infrastructure & Sustainable Landscapes Project Officer | Botanic Gardens of South Australia
•Ms Sky Allen | Planning Reform & Projects Directorate, Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure
•Mr Simon Divecha | University of Adelaide
Further tour dates and location will be announced throughout October and to learn more about the tour go to 202020vision.com.au/news/2014/08/the-growing-the-seeds-tour/

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For all media enquiries contact Claire Maloney, PR Director, The Bravery: 0431 279 785 or claire@thebraveryishere.com

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES:

•South Australian Media Tour Briefing: Being held Tuesday, 14th October at Adelaide Botanic Gardens
•Interviews with Robert Prince, CEO NGIA, Dr Dong Chen lead researcher from CSIRO new research report and any of our expert tour facilitators (see above)

About the 202020 Vision:

Our cities need more plants and trees. They are good for our health and productivity, keep cities cool and reduce pollution. People even heal faster when they’re around them. Yet so often, plants and trees are overlooked when plans are drawn and concrete poured. The 202020 Vision is a national initiative to change this, by increasing our urban green space by 20 per cent by 2020.

Our mission is to:

•Map and showcase Australia's most innovative and inspiring urban green spaces
•Profile the individuals and organisations leading the way to green our cities
•Quantify the value and positive impacts of urban green space
•Use these to inspire governments, developers and communities to increase the green space
•Keep inspiring and improving so that we can all see 20 per cent more green spaces in our cities by 2020

To date the Vision has attracted nearly 30 advocates who are leaders within their fields, more than 150 partner organisations have committed to the vision and there are currently more than 100 projects throughout Australia that exemplify the aspirations and goals of the initiative. Learn more about the 202020 Vision and register your projects at 202020Vision.com.au or contact hello@202020vision.com.au to become a partner.