With Australia having its warmest and driest year, and for the world, its second warmest year on record, experts say inaction on climate change is detrimental to the liveability of our cities. 

A range of advocates for Greener Spaces Better Places – a national initiative bringing together industry experts to improve urban green spaces – confirmed alleviating heat-related stress in our cities requires diversifying tree-canopy cover to combat rising temperatures. 

“We know a tried and tested strategy is the introduction of more trees and green roofs in urban spaces,” says Dr Tony Matthews, Griffith University urban and environmental planner.

“At the street level, a huge amount of urban land is privately owned, so it would be great to see residents doing their part to green their properties.” 

Additionally, suggesting the uptake of green walls and green roofs in our cities, the improvement of design standards for new buildings also is called into question. 

“As one of the hottest places on earth at times, Australia is feeling the heat of climate change,” says Daniel Bennett, SA president, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.

“Greening our places is the most important mitigation we can act on now to enact change and reduce impacts of climate change on our cities and regions.”

Bennett explains that increasing a city’s connected tree canopy is one way to achieve reduction on local temperatures as well as reducing the urban heat island effect, increasing biodiversity, mental and physical wellbeing and business opportunities.