URBAN GREENING: The fifth stateUrban Greening’s event was an “incredible” success, proving that “green is the new black” with just over 150 delegates at one time hearing from sustainability experts and thought leaders, horticulture and the built environment.
The July 25 event was a celebration of elevating nature to its rightful priority in our built environment, and the forces driving this market disruption.
With event partners University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Living Future Institute of Australia and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, lead sponsor Tensile and supporting sponsors Mulpha and WaterUps, the summit, at the UTS Air Service Center, was widely considered a great success.
Want to dive deeper into the world of Urban Greening? Don’t worry – we’ll bring you a lengthy edited transcript of the event as well as additional feature articles in our ebook around this topic.
Can’t wait? Here are some key takeaways from the day.
1. Green is the new black
Like Superman shedding the corporate blazer and revealing his world-saving outfit to the crowd, Jamie Durie let us know in no uncertain terms that “green is the new black.”
In his opening speech, The Green Zeitgeist and where it takes usInternational award-winning designer, author, TV host and regular on Oprah Winfrey’s show, shared her strong beliefs with the audience:
“Urban gardening and agriculture is of course found in all of our suburbs. And as backyards get smaller and developer wallets get bigger, we find more innovative ways to infiltrate [plants into] back yard… [and] in these built environments.
2. There is no sustainability without Indigenous thinking
Jefa Greenaway, Principal of Greenaway Architects, Lecturer at the University of Melbourne and Qantas 100 Inspiring Australians brought back the idea that there can be no sustainability without Indigenous thinking, especially as the construction industry he built environment is so intrinsically linked to the country.
He spoke via video link due to an unavoidable problem on the day that kept him from his inspiring wetlands project in Victoria, and the fact that he unfortunately couldn’t do it in person didn’t matter. made to dull its shine.
The Hobsons Bay Wetlands Center in Melbourne will incorporate a visitor learning experience facility that aimed to “enhance physical and mental well-being”, support cutting-edge research, celebrate the country and boost ecotourism while protecting the wetland habitat that is home to an endangered species of frog.
Greenaway reminded the audience of the importance of integrating Indigenous design thinking into architecture while ensuring that the green and sustainability agenda was also brought to the fore.
“What it allows us to do is heal the country, learn from the country and feed the country,” he said.
3. water is life
Sydney Water’s Renée Ingram spoke to MC Jess Miller (former Deputy Mayor of the City of Sydney) about how to mitigate urban heat and flooding in Western Sydney, in her speech on opportunities for investment in water.
Sydney has big plans, Ingram said. Concretely, divide the city into three CBDs. And water is a vital consideration for an area of the city that faces high heat due to a lack of access to green space and natural cooling wetlands and the ocean.
This begs a big question: how will western Sydney cope with a growing population and increasing heat?
The answer is water.
“When we look at western Sydney right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape a third CBD city… how do we integrate into the city at these very early stages, the protection and use of the water? And how can we inform this? »
4. A high-quality built environment influences people’s lives
Marci Webster-Mannison, architect at Melbourne Design Studios, talked a lot about sustainability in a poetic talk about the nuances of eco-friendly design.
One of his best-known projects is Charles Sturt University’s Thurgoona campus, with its adobe buildings, recycled wood and unique passive solar heating and cooling systems, designed to be environmentally friendly, but profitable.
The sustainability credentials she read sounded like poetry:
“Forming views of remnant stands of trees and the living museum of endemic planting along waterways gives biodiversity a voice.
“One hundred percent fresh air, an abundance of natural light and non-toxic materials exude comfort and health.
“The place is buzzing. We hear people thriving in these surroundings. We see how the built environment influences the way people live in this learning laboratory. »
5. It can be dangerous to romanticize green buildings
The tide is rising in favor of green buildings, and it seems like every developer, architect, and client wants to stick some greenery or whatever on their roof. But clients often don’t understand the nuances of green building and romanticize the process. At least that’s what Peter Bottero of Tensile had to say, during his presentation in Weathershield Part A: Climate Threats and How Nature Can Protect Us.
This segment gave us a lot of things we need to know about plants in our urban environment.
“It’s pretty basic: what do plants need to grow successfully?…Sometimes some of the basics of how to grow and maintain plants (and I stress the word sustainability) aren’t always well understood.”
For example, it is not well known that Wisteria has the power to break steel cables. Wisteria is “a terrifying thing to see on the sides of buildings, if left untended,” he said.
But often it’s a struggle for plants to survive in cities.
“Cities can be very hostile to plants. It’s not just the heat, most of the time it really changes the environments…Buildings also greatly affect the success of factories,” Bottero said.
6. Cities are plant-unfriendly and require thoughtful design and maintenance
It’s not just Bottero who has pointed out how unfriendly cities are to plants.
In his presentation at the same session, Dr John Rayner, Associate Professor of Urban Horticulture at the University of Melbourne, spoke about the challenges of understanding the nature of plants, the requirements for growing and maintaining vegetation and research on factors affecting plant success.
Why do plants fail? Rayner says this can either be due to a lack of diversity in their ecosystem or a lack of design maintainability.
He is one of many working to prevent this, often documenting in photographic format to understand the processes.
“Yeah, I take a lot of photos of dead plants,” he said.
seven. We are moving forward and rising – growing towards the light!
What the resounding success of this event proves is that “green is the new black” and that plants hold great potential – and investment opportunities.
The wave of greening and crowd engagement proves that built environment leaders are beginning to get more excited about greening our urban spaces, understanding the proven value of nature, and wanting to put hand in hand to get there.
Stay tuned for our ebook on the event and the issues surrounding it.