The City of Sydney has announced plans to cover 40% of the city in greenery in 2050, in line with its Greening Sydney 2012 and 2030 strategies.

The plan will see new and improved parks, green roofs and walls, streetscape gardening and hundreds of new trees planted throughout the city in the coming years.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says the proposal is part of the city’s want to do their bit for the planet’s climate crisis.

“The City of Sydney is one of only a few councils in Australia that has consistently increased canopy cover, and the only capital city to do so. Greening Sydney 2030 allows us to build on this progress and provides the next important chapter in the City of Sydney’s green story,” she says.

“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis and we’re already experiencing its impacts. Dangerous heat waves are arriving earlier, are hotter and last longer. Our city must adapt to the changing climate and increase its resilience to the likely impacts.”

greener sydney proposal concept

greener sydney proposal concept

Moore says urban streetscapes loaded with flora are non-negotiable for future infrastructure.

“Trees and other urban greenery are as essential as roads and broadband internet. Effective and extensive canopy cover can help reduce temperatures on the ground by up to 10 degrees.

“We will plant more trees, plants and shrubbery, and make sure they are species that are hardy and resilient to our changing climate.”

Greening the city has been a priority for the City of Sydney since 2008, when the Sustainable Sydney 2030 program was introduced in a response to climate change. 

In that time, there has been a 24% increase in canopy cover, a 13% increase in parks and green spaces, a 180% increase in expanded and restored native bushland since 2014, and 23 community and verge gardens established across the city.

Moore says greenery are essential for the physical and mental health of city residents and tourists

“Trees remove thousands of tonnes of pollution from our air, store carbon and help mitigate extreme weather, while also relieving stress, depression and anxiety. It is critical that we value everything our broad urban forest and greenery can do for us, and invest heavily in it,” she says. 

greener sydney proposal

To achieve these targets, Greening Sydney 2030 has set out a series of actions:

1. Green laneways, roofs and developments

The council will use innovation and design to create more green roofs and walls, and we’ll push ourselves harder to find creative ways to green our network of largely concrete laneways and narrow streets. It plans to gradually amend planning controls to increase the adoption and use of green roofs in new developments, as well as retrofitting onto existing buildings where possible.

2. Make access to greenery equitable

Sydney City Council aims to introduce greenery throughout all areas of the city, off the back of research that demonstrates key climate and health benefits to achieving around 30% canopy cover. The team tasked with the project aim to analyse each street, park and property to confirm the extent of greening and canopy cover distribution.

3. Introduce Green Factor Scores

The Council plans to implement Green Factor Scores, a planning tool that evaluates and quantifies the amount and quality of urban greening a project provides. All projects will need to achieve a required score, based on the type of development, location and other site considerations. Green Factor Scores will be implemented into new planning controls, including the development control plan to ensure greening is planned for and provided on private land.

4. Establish a Greening Sydney Fund

City of Sydney aims to compensate for every tree that is cut down for infrastructure or development. The compensation will go into a Greening Sydney Fund, used specifically to improve greening outcomes on private land in the form of programs and grants that will encourage residents to plant new trees, install green roofs or make other contributions to increase green cover.

5. Draw on Indigenous ecological knowledge

Council will work with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities to identify cultural and practical principles that should be considered when designing new spaces, or that can help integrate people with nature.

6. Community participation and education

The council aims to continue to encourage participation in greening activities like supporting education programs on urban greening and citizen science programs, community gardens and the Sydney City Farm.


If endorsed by Council in March, the draft strategy will go on public exhibition for comment from 19 April to 24 May. To view a copy of the Greening Sydney Strategy 2030, click here.

Images: Supplied