Well planned and designed public and private green spaces are key to the health and wellbeing of people and the natural environment, as well as the local economy.
Urban green spaces have many benefits that support sustainable and liveable cities and healthy and connected communities, including:
- cooling cities and mitigating the ‘heat island effect’
- slowing stormwater runoff
- filtering air pollution
- improving human immune systems
- providing habitat for plants and animals
- making people happier and calmer
- creating areas for active sport
- encouraging walking and cycling
- promoting social interaction.
With more people needing space to build, develop and live, we are losing green cover from our backyards and public areas. In fact, a recent report found that Adelaide’s tree coverage is the lowest of Australia’s capitals. Adelaide’s tree canopy coverage is 27% - less than half of Hobart’s (the highest in the country at 59%). There are also marked variations between Adelaide suburbs.
As our neighbourhoods and cities grow and densify, ensuring that quality green space is available to all South Australians has become a key challenge for the urban planning, health and environment sectors. Because a growing Adelaide is better greener.
Green infrastructure and urban settings
The Healthy Parks Healthy People SA partnership has identified six key principles for green infrastructure in urban settings. These principles will help to keep growing our city in a way that protects and enhances our existing green spaces alongside the creation of new open space destinations.
Healthy Parks Healthy People SA has developed a document Creating Greener Places for Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Ideas for Quality Green Public Space in South Australia (PDF 7MB) to explore how we can all work together to enhance our green spaces.
Quality green public space
University of Melbourne and RMIT University researchers were commissioned to complete an evidence review of how quality green space supports health, wellbeing and biodiversity. The report, released in March 2017, shows that green spaces can be designed to provide multiple benefits. The paper also outlines that greening solutions are complex. This highlights the need for practitioners and academics to work collaboratively across disciples and sectors to maximise the impact of green spaces, including trees.
The second Healthy Parks Healthy People Action Plan, ‘Quality Green Public Space’ (PDF 1.2MB) was released in August 2017. The plan will guide action to promote the greening of the public realm.
The South Australian Planning Reform and the implementation of the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide provide unique opportunities to better integrate quality dimensions for green public open space into new developments and existing neighbourhoods.