The 202020 Vision is hosting a workshop programmed specifically to address the unique opportunities and challenges facing Western Australia in urban greening.

To be attended by several WA Councils, the one-day 202020 Vision workshop being held on Wednesday 2 December in Perth will present a platform for all participants to share knowledge and discuss the mitigation of various issues arising out of climate change.

A new Roy Morgan poll reveals that almost one in five people in Western Australia has named climate change as the biggest issue facing Australia, outstripping the level of concern in all other states by 10 per cent or more. This could be attributed to WA’s longstanding vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and in particular to water scarcity issues. The recent Esperance bush fires, temperatures reaching 45 degrees in remote WA areas, and Perth being Australia’s driest major city have only exacerbated these concerns.  

Adopting urban forest and water sensitive urban design strategies are integral to responding to the El NiƱo threat, which is set to bring record heat across Australia by Christmas and continue well into next year.

ICLEI Oceania’s Director of Water, Mr Greg Hales, who has over 20 years of experience working with local governments to create more resilient cities, says a healthy environment is highly linked with community wellbeing and health.

He comments that Australian communities are aware of the urgent need to act on climate change and local government has a significant role to play in the sustainable management of the country’s precious and limited resources, especially through their planning schemes. Mr Hales added that urban forest plans, while ambitious at a local level, can achieve great outcomes when broader landscape planning issues are also addressed.

One of the most powerfully transformative solutions to come out of a national plan to see a 20 per cent increase in urban green space by 2020, is for each urban council in Australia to develop an urban forest strategy, which has the potential to radically transform not only the local community, but also the cities’ climate, productivity and health.

City of Vincent Mayor John Carey says they are excited to be participating in the workshop hosted by the 202020 Vision and expect to learn more about how an Urban Forest Strategy can improve the green spaces within urban environments in Western Australia. His team also looks forward to meeting with other local councils to discuss the most effective approach for mitigating heat waves in urban areas, drought-proofing their communities, and improving the liveability of cities for a healthy future for West Australians.

Leading urban renewal expert, Ms Yvonne Lynch, will share insights on how these councils can adapt an award-winning, internationally recognised urban forest strategy to their local area. Lynch led the City of Melbourne’s multidisciplinary Urban Forest & Urban Ecology Team whose work has been recognised and awarded nationally and internationally for its progressive approach to urban forestry, climate adaptation and citizen participation. 

The 202020 Vision in conjunction with the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government has developed the How to Grow an Urban Forest guide to help Local Governments overcome some of the most common barriers to the creation of green spaces.

The workshop will be attended by representatives from the City of Perth, The Property Council of Australia, City of Belmont, City of Armadale, City of Fremantle, City of Vincent, Bayswater Council, City of Subiaco, City of Stirling and University of Western Australia amongst many others.

202020 Vision has worked in partnership with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council, Western Australian Local Government Association, and the Department of Planning WA, and with support from Parkland WA and AECOM to bring the daylong workshop to Perth.

More information about the event can be accessed on the 202020 Vision website.

Image: ICLEI Oceania’s Director of Water, Mr Greg Hales