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    Greening Sydney: Australia’s first green roof and walls policy

    Geraldine Chua

    The City of Sydney has recently adopted the first ever green roof and walls policy for Australia under the Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan. Seeking to increase the number of high quality green roofs and walls available in the city, the policy follows on from trial installations in the Sydney CBD since 2011.

    The latest installation in the program can be seen on the Goulburn Street Car Parking Station building, where three different types of green walls were put up earlier in the year. Designed and installed by The Greenwall Company, these include:

    • A climbing greenwall screen on the southern side of the building on Elizabeth Street. Here, in-ground plantings of climbing species grow with the support of a growing frame.
    • A modular greenwall made from nine panels sized 2m x 1m. It is installed on the northern side of the building on Castlereagh Street.
    • Pots with trailing native plectranthus plants which cascade down the façade of the car park, stemming several levels. This includes species grown in greenhouses gathered both locally and internationally, and which are drought-tolerant and flowering plants.

    The benefits of green walls and roofs go beyond appearances, and include improved air quality, insulation, energy cost reductions and the lowering of urban heat island effects. These advantages are also the target of the City’s Greening Sydney Plan, which looks to move the green to the streets as well.

    Focusing on opportunities to increase canopy cover, landscape amenity and biodiversity within the city, over $75 million has been dedicated to the Footway Renewal and Public Domain Landscaping programs over the next 10 years.

    Initiatives include boosting standard footpath improvements by installing new garden beds, trees and shrubs to soften and enhance the appearance of public places.

    Before & after: Three Saints Square, Paddington

    Already, a range of projects have been undertaken, including the introduction of planter boxes and a new garden near the Beauchamp Hotel on the corner of Oxford and South Dowling streets.

    “The little garden and the planter boxes on all five corners of the intersection help bring the community together,” says the hotel’s publican, Sue Ritchie.

    “Every day, instead of it being grey, urban, hard and austere, it’s just mood lifting. You wouldn’t believe the positive feedback we get about how softening and pleasant the little plants are.”

    Before & after: Marriott and Telopea streets, Surry Hills

    Lord Mayor Clover Moore adds that increasing Sydney’s tree canopy and other plantings will help make the city “a better place to live, work and visit”.

    “Greener streets help improve people’s wellbeing, cool neighbourhoods and support the wildlife that calls Sydney home, such as birds, small mammals and butterflies,” she said.

    “Streets and public spaces make up almost a third of our city area. By using these available spaces as garden beds, we can contribute greatly to increasing urban canopy, reducing the impact of the urban heat island effect, as well as filtering stormwater before it reaches our harbour and waterways.”

    The City’s 10 year corporate plan, along with a record $1.94 billion infrastructure program, includes major commitments for projects at Green Square, George Street, Barangaroo and Harold Park. Find out more about the Greening Sydney Plan here.

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