There has been a noticeable shift towards providing quality green public amenity in major cities, leading to more resilient cities which are capable of addressing future challenges such as population growth, increased density, climate change and the desire for more communal recreational spaces.
The benefits of providing these spaces are considerable in improving the quality of urban environments; from reducing temperatures in cities (the heat island effect) to providing shade and habitats for local fauna.
The City of Melbourne through its Urban Forest Strategy seeks to increase canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent, increase forest diversity and improve biodiversity by 2040. In parallel to the Urban Forest Strategy, City of Melbourne also has a number of other initiatives which seek to improve and add to Melbourne's wealth of green spaces.
These include the Greening Laneways project and Rooftop Project, which investigate maximising the potential of some underutilised assets within the CBD for the betterment of the city and its population.
We can add another layer by making them green and therefore more efficient at cooling the city, intercepting and cleaning stormwater, and improving air quality. There are more than 200 lanes in our central city but only a small number of these feature greenery.Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
A further opportunity identified is a new Market Square as part of the Queen Victoria Market Renewal Project, providing a green oasis within City North. This new space combined with enhancements to the existing sheds will create a unique indoor/outdoor facility which:
Mixed-use precincts which offer retail services, work and transport options in one central location are essential to improving the quality of the urban environment, and play a critical role in providing environmental, aesthetic, well-being and recreational benefits not just to residents but to the general public at large.
Developers such as Cbus Property and Lendlease have committed to creating more green public amenities as part of their developments in a bid to create better places which foster vibrant communities. Their respective projects, Collins Arch and Melbourne Quarter, aim to contribute to the public realm via the introduction of significant and diverse green spaces which compliment their respective built form.
Collins Arch's 5,926sqm island site will introduce 3,500sqm of public realm, primarily by way of a 1,500sqm park along Market Street that will result in the partial closure of Market Street itself. Further to this, residents will have access to the 3-storey sky garden bridging the dual towers on level 39. The provision of a green space within the heart of the city with a Collins Street address is a rare opportunity that has seen the City of Melbourne throw its support behind it.
What we found is we don’t need Market St for smooth traffic flow in the city. If we don’t need it, is it possible to return that to public open space? And I love the idea of a new pocket park right on Collins St that leads you down to the river.Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
Further down Collins Street, Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter will dedicate more than half of its 2.5ha site to open space, and has been registered for a green star communities rating. Landscape architects Aspect|Oculus have designed 10,000sqm of public and private domain at Melbourne Quarter, including the precinct’s Skypark and Neighbourhood park which have been designed to contribute to enriching the experience of city life.
The precinct will be a mix of both green vertical and horizontal layers, with over 40 storeys of planter boxes and vertical green trellis designed to run along the northern and eastern façades of the first residential building, East Tower.
Elevated above Collins Street, Skypark will give distinct views down into the square, onto Collins Street and out to the city, offering a variety of opportunities for people to linger with benches, landscaped rooms, shelters and moveable furniture.Bob Earl, Director, Aspect|Oculus
The provision of green space and amenity in cities will continue to become a sought after commodity in line with increased density and population growth. And there's nothing wrong with that.