Rethinking urban planning values

CAF_Urbos_3_Sydney_Light_RailIn meeting the needs of growing populations across our capital cities, it is vital that we have efficient, integrated public transport, with enough capacity to meet demand. The challenge of retrofitting transport systems into an established urban fabric means difficult decisions are inevitable. But what if building these new transport systems actually leaves parts of our cities more vulnerable to even bigger challenges, such as climate change?

Sydney and Canberra are forging ahead with light rail projects intended to reduce traffic congestion and improve accessibility. However, in both cities a significant number of mature trees will be impacted.

In Canberra, the ACT government is set to remove approximately 860 trees. In Sydney, about 1277 mature trees will either be removed or have their canopy or roots pruned.

Of the condemned trees, 871 are classified as trees of significant value. These trees, some of which were 160 years old, provide an array of benefits that make our cities liveable. These include clean air, amenity, biodiversity and cooling in hot temperatures.

As someone who works in the area of climate change adaptation, I can see how the loss of these trees will have major environmental, economic and social consequences. As a local resident who has walked and cycled daily under the trees, the loss has a personal cost.

It is imperative that we find better ways to balance the needs of growing city populations, while ensuring the protection of the natural environment we ultimately rely on to survive. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

 

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