A Growing the Seeds Tour has been organised at the national level to tackle the problem of Australia’s declining urban green spaces.

The national tour is heading to major cities across Australia to crowdsource for the first time, expert solutions to reverse this trend and increase urban green space.

The announcement of the tour by the 202020 Vision coincides with the publication of a report in Environmental Pollution by CSIRO Ecosystems Sciences that indicated how doubling of green spaces in cities could cut heat wave related deaths in the elderly by nearly 30%.

Funded by 202020 Vision partners, Horticulture Australia and the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA), the report is focussed on Melbourne but the insights hold relevance for many major Australian cities. As Australia heads towards one of the hottest summers on record, most cities will be grappling with the consequences of the urban heat island effect, says Robert Prince, Chief Executive Officer, NGIA.

Climate, health and productivity in relation to urban green space will be addressed by Growing the Seeds Tour to uncover solutions and pathways to how these issues can be overcome by 2020. The tour will work with some of Australia's well-known experts and leaders in urban green space from all levels of government, business, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

Prince explains that encouraging a solutions-orientated discussion between these sectors is a major objective of the tour, along with demonstrating that a national action plan can take the country into the next decade even though there are variations across every state and territory.

The 202020 Vision report, Where Are All The Trees, based on research conducted by University of Technology, Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures, highlights these geographical variations, and how major cities are grappling with urban green space challenges.

The report analysed tree canopy cover in 139 of the most urban, dense, local government areas, showing a range of complexities in the benchmark study while also highlighting various solutions that could be shared between regions.

Adelaide’s expert tour facilitators include Dr Jenni Garden, Griffith University; Mr Stuart Pope, Senior Urban Designer City Design & Transport from Adelaide City Council; Dr Sheryn Pitman, Green Infrastructure & Sustainable Landscapes Project Officer, Botanic Gardens of South Australia; Ms Sky Allen, Planning Reform & Projects Directorate, Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure; and Mr Simon Divecha, University of Adelaide.

More information about the tour is available on 202020vision.com.au.