Perth residents invited to join project to cool urban hotspots

Our Park, Our Place will consult community on co-designing local green spaces like this to create shadier oases in the changing climate.

Greening Australia today announced the launch of a two-year project that aims to help cool some of Perth’s most heat-stressed suburbs through collaborative design which incorporates planting more trees and native vegetation in strategic locations.

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.

The Our Park, Our Place collaborative project is responding to this challenge by helping residents reconnect with local parks and learn about how to create cool green spaces. Parks in some of Perth’s warmest council areas – Bassendean, Bayswater, and Canning, on the traditional lands of the Noongar people – will be the focus of the project.

Social enterprise The Behaviour Change Collaborative, landscape architects, local councils and Greening Australia are working together to ensure the project produces long-term social and environmental benefits. Lotterywest provided major support with a grant of more than $570,000 to make the Our Park, Our Place project possible.

“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. We’ll be asking residents what they think about green space and involving communities in designing their parks, as well as offering educational sessions, workshops and community art and planting days.”

What a park co-designed and planted by community could look like in 5 years’ time. Image courtesy of landscape architect Kerry O’Flaherty.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said retaining urban tree canopy in Perth suburbs had many benefits. “Urban forests make our neighbourhoods more liveable and restore wildlife corridors, can help combat the ‘urban heat island’ effect and make our suburbs more resilient to climate change,” he said.

Lotterywest CEO Susan Hunt PSM said the organisation was proud to support this unique project with a grant of more than $570,000 to Greening Australia: “The project works with the communities and local governments to help build greener suburbs with increased plantings and improved urban design. This is an innovative approach and we look forward to seeing some positive outcomes that might be applied more broadly across WA.”

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The WA Government, through Lotterywest, supports community projects like this one, helping to build a better WA. The purpose of Lotterywest is to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing for all West Australians through funding and support.

The Our Park, Our Place project is supported by Lotterywest and delivered as part of Greening Australia’s Nature in Cities program. As climate change and population growth intensify pressures on our urban areas, Greening Australia are working with communities, businesses and governments across Australia to create greener, more liveable cities where both people and nature thrive.