New park designs to cool heat-affected suburbs in Perth

Greening Australia has released the first of three park re-designs to help cool some of Perth’s most heat-stressed suburbs.


The Our Park, Our Place project will work with community to design and deliver three innovative greening projects at a local park in East Cannington, Morley and Eden Hill to reduce the ‘urban heat island’ effect* and provide a cool space for residents to relax and engage with nature.

The project is a collaborative effort between Perth residents, landscape architects, local councils, Water Corporation, The Behaviour Change Collaborative and Greening Australia. One of its aims is to influence community attitudes toward, and use of, green spaces in local neighbourhoods, and to increase people’s knowledge of the urban heat island effect.

A series of workshops will also be delivered to empower residents with the necessary knowledge and skills to plant and maintain waterwise gardens in their own homes.

Communities in suburbs with low tree canopy cover have been found to be more at risk from heat-related stress and illness in a changing climate, according to modelling conducted by the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.

Concept plan for Groundlark Park in East Cannington, WA

“The lack of trees and cooling local green spaces in cities is becoming more and more obvious in Perth, especially as temperatures rise, rainfall decreases and heatwaves intensify,” said Greening Australia’s project lead, Dr Christine Allen.

“Our Park, Our Place is all about giving residents the knowledge and skills to take action and ownership of their local parks to create cool green spaces in a changing climate. Consulting and engaging community underpins the entire project.”

The re-designs are based on key themes identified in a community consultation process delivered by The Behaviour Change Collaborative, in collaboration with Greening Australia and local councils.

The key themes include:

  • Aboriginal heritage – recognition of Traditional Owners through inclusion of artwork, stories and interpretive signage
  • Planting – more trees for shade, and flowering plant life to create interest and attract wildlife
  • Pathways – shady corridors to create relaxing journeys through the parks for residents
  • Nature play – nature-based play elements and discovery trails for exploration
  • Water management – improving amenity and enhancing habitat and water quality by transforming existing storm water basins into a seasonal vegetated wetland

The re-design of Groundlark Park in East Cannington will be unveiled first to residents at a community event today, followed by Arbor Park in Morley on Saturday the 17th of October and Mary Crescent Reserve in Eden Hill on Sunday the 15th of November.

Groundlark Park in East Cannington has been chosen for the Our Park, Our Place project as the suburb is expected to undergo significant development over the next 20 years, resulting in tree canopy loss.

“The Groundlark site currently has less than 10% tree canopy, which makes it a primary target for tree planting to cool the area and create an oasis for local residents,” said City of Canning Mayor Patrick Hall.

The project will see the transformation of the stormwater basin at the park into a thriving vegetated seasonal floodplain. Through native plantings and placement of logs and rocks it will create habitat for local species and integrated environmental and cultural art will be used to share knowledge and enhance connection and understanding of the site and surrounds.

The project has been made possible through the support of the West Australian Government via Lotterywest, committing $570,000 to support the project in March 2020.

Read more about the Our Park, Our Place project