A cooler greener Melbourne
Victoria is the fastest growing state in Australia and is expected to support at least 10 million people by 2051, with 8 million living in Melbourne. The city’s growth, in combination with climate change, presents complex challenges to ensure Melbourne becomes more sustainable as it grows. Cooling and greening Melbourne, and increasing sustainability and resilience through green infrastructure, is a priority for the Victorian Government.
We need to plan for green infrastructure the same way we do for gray infrastructure to enhance urban amenity and quality, improve landscape connectivity and build resilience to climate change. These more liveable outcomes will be achieved by protecting existing green spaces, creating new opportunities for urban greening, improving water-sensitive urban design, greening buildings (roofs, facades and walls), and increasing permeable surfaces.
The Victorian Government has identified the importance of green infrastructure to create more liveable and climate-adapted communities. Our approach is outlined in our key strategic policies and plans highlighted below.
Plan Melbourne 2017 - 2050
Water for Victoria
Suburban Development Statement
Victoria’s Climate Change
Protecting Victoria's Environment - Biodiversity
What is green infrastructure?
Green infrastructure describes the green spaces, trees, soils and water systems that intersperse, connect and provide vital life support for all of us and the other various fauna species within our urban environments.
Melbourne’s network of green spaces provides opportunities for people to enjoy frequent contact with nature in urban environments as well as providing important areas of habitat for biodiversity conservation. This network includes a range of public and private green infrastructure assets, from parks and reserves to backyards and gardens, green roofs and walls, rain gardens as well as waterway and transport corridors that provide important green linkages.
Why is green infrastructure important?
Green infrastructure is essential for community health and well-being and for maintaining our natural ecosystems on which we depend such as clean air and water. Green infrastructure reduces the impacts of climate events such as flooding and heatwaves and underpins our economy in areas such as health, liveability and industry.
In dense urban environments the urban heat island effect can cause urban areas to be up to four degrees Celsius hotter than surrounding non-urban areas. This is created by the built environment absorbing, trapping and, in some cases, directly emitting heat due to the prevalence of heat-absorbing materials such as dark-coloured pavements, roofs, concrete, urban canyons trapping hot air, and a lack of shade and green space.
Green infrastructure reduces urban heat through both shading and evapotranspiration. Temperature decreases of even 1-2°C can have a significant impact on reduced heat related morbidity and mortality. Greening the city can also help protect waterways and reduce flooding through improved stormwater management, improve air quality, reduce energy costs, support biodiversity and enhance liveability and community well-being by connecting people to nature, which is fundamental to the physical and mental health of every Victorian.