Workshop 2014

Greening Greater Melbourne: urban forests beyond the inner-city

The Greening Greater Melbourne Workshop, held at The University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus on November 6 2014, provided thirty participants with an opportunity to discuss the specific barriers and opportunities faced in middle- to outer-suburban areas of Melbourne in adopting best practice urban forest strategies.

The day commenced with two exciting speakers. International guest speaker Rebecca Salminen Witt of “The Greening of Detroit” spoke first on “Meeting Challenges with Innovation in a Big City Forest”. This was followed by a presentation from Dr Fiona Miller of Macquarie University on “Vulnerability to heat: the role of shade in building more resilient cities”, with significant emphasis on the cooling challenges facing Melbourne.

Two new research datasets from the “Shading Liveable Cities” pilot project were then discussed. The first drew on a detailed itree-based analysis that gave a ‘bird’s eye view’ of levels of current tree canopy cover within selected suburbs of Greater Western Melbourne. This data was disaggregated by coverage type and by public and private ownership.  We demonstrated opportunities to link small-area tree canopy data to socio-economic and property sales data, highlighting spatial variation and interrelationships.

The second dataset drew on a recent on-line survey and set of in-depth interviews with five city councils (Hume, Moonee Valley, Hobsons Bay, Brimbank and Melton) and the Office of Living Victoria and the Metropolitan Planning Authority. Using this dataset, we set out the governance framework underpinning the provision of trees in Western Melbourne, as well as exploring what survey and interview participants would like to see happen in terms of urban development processes concerning greening and shading.

In the afternoon, a brainstorming session was run based on four key problems in urban tree canopy provision. Participants were also asked about the research they would find most useful in bringing about solutions to these problems.

The Shading Liveable Cities team — Dr Rachel Hughes, Dr Nicole Cook, Dr Elizabeth Taylor, Dr Stephen Livesley and Dr Melanie Davern —  thank the guest speakers, the research participants and the GGM workshop participants for their productive and generous contributions to the research and workshop event.

The project report is available on our papers page.