The Australian Institute for Landscape Architects (AILA) has called upon the Federal Government to invest in a clear plan for urban greening in Australian cities. While extending support to the Government’s initiatives to make Australian cities more liveable, particularly through greening programs, AILA has also raised doubts about the approach taken within the budget announcement.

AILA CEO Shahana McKenzie underlined the need to have a clearly articulated plan for greening the cities, developed in a collaborative way with industry and all levels of government to ensure the efforts aren’t wasted.

The Prime Minister’s Smart Cities event held recently saw Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt asking the roundtable how they could replicate the urban greening growth in Singapore. McKenzie suggests using 1 per cent of the budget allocated on the 20-million trees program, and developing a collaborative living infrastructure plan in partnership with local councils and state governments to ensure its success.

Observing that investment in urban forests was important, Green Building Council of Australia CEO Romilly Madew said they would also like to see the development of a national green infrastructure policy that goes further than being just about trees, and includes boosting biodiversity, enhancing the public domain, and building more resilient cities.

A Living Cities workshop held earlier this year by AILA in collaboration with Engineers Australia at Parliament House saw over 60 organisations in attendance and led to the formation of a Living Cities Alliance to support a collaborative approach to developing policy in this space. The Alliance includes over 30 organisations from research, government and industry.