New network to nurture a biodiverse and liveable Perth

Nature sensitive urban design. Image - Zoe Myers, Australian Urban Design Research Centre, UWA

A new project led by Murdoch University environmental scientist Dr Jane Chambers seeks to nurture a biodiverse and liveable city.

Dr Chambers has created NatureLink Perth to facilitate collaboration and cooperation between interest groups, scientists, developers and policy makers and is launching the project with a Symposium at Murdoch University on Thursday 4 July.

“Rapid development in our city, and the recognised need for more intensive development to reduce the city’s footprint is having an alarming impact on one of the most biodiverse areas in the world,” Dr Chambers said.

“What if we could save our biodiversity and create a better city for people too?”

Dr Chambers said that in the rush to increase infill, the role of the environment had been forgotten, but this was to the detriment of people’s physical and mental health.

“The stresses of city life and our sedentary urban lifestyles are putting us under huge strain. But our health can be markedly improved with access to nature,” she said.

“There are so many benefits of integrating nature into the city. Fortunately, greenspace is perfectly compatible with a high-density city – it is all about innovative planning.

We are very fortunate in Perth to live in a biodiversity hotspot, but sadly this world class biodiversity is threatened through individual planning decisions resulting in death by a thousand cuts.

“There is currently no holistic strategy or plan, informed by ecological understanding, to conserve our natural estate or integrate nature into our city and our remaining urban bushlands and wetlands are at risk.”

Dr Chambers said NatureLink Perth would aim to engage and empower stakeholders to focus on a positive vision to sustain nature in the city for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy.

“Being able to find agreements on ways forward for green urban spaces and in design will promote the acceptance and establishment of essential wildlife corridors throughout the city, so we, our visitors and our children can enjoy Perth’s iconic native species like banksia, black cockatoos and bandicoots into the future,” Dr Chambers said.

Perspectives on nature sensitive urban design

So far NatureLink Perth has held more than 70 meetings with 11 State Government departments, 13 local governments, 20 NGOs, 10 scientists, eight developers, two from the arts community and more than 25 friends groups, to clarify perspectives on what needs to be done to mainstream nature sensitive urban design in Perth.

“Perth is blessed with precious natural assets that we have an international responsibility to protect,” she said. “Natural areas are an essential part of what makes Perth such a fantastic place to live.”

The inaugural NatureLink Perth symposium will include a panel discussion featuring former Western Australian premier Professor Carmen Lawrence and Tim McNaught, Director of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management. Speakers will include Dr Tom Hattan, Chair of the WA Environmental Protection Authority. Naturelink Perth invites you to be part of this exciting initiative. Register here.

Posted on:

27 Jun 2019

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