What is Urban Greening?

    Urban greening is about strategically increasing the quality and quantity of all vegetation and open green space on all land types in an urban setting. A component of this is the ‘urban forest’, the sum of all of the trees, plants and greenery across all land types.

    Cities across Australia and elsewhere are measuring the health, diversity and extent of their urban forests, setting targets and realigning their operational programs to work towards improving greening cover. The amount and type of green cover across the urban landscape is a large contributor to the high level of liveability of our City. 

    What is the Urban Greening Strategy?

    The Urban Greening Strategy is a green infrastructure strategy that will guide the planning, design and delivery of green infrastructure in urban areas across the City. It aims to create a healthier, more liveable and sustainable urban environment.

    Why do we need this Strategy?

    Urban trees in particular play a critical role in creating healthy cities. They provide shade and shelter (especially along walking and cycling pathways), improve air quality, absorb carbon and rainfall, reduce peak stormwater flow volumes and improve water quality flowing to the Lake, cool local environments, and through increasing habitat and corridor connections, support increased biodiversity and wildlife. 

    Trees and other plants contribute to the amenity of urban places, providing seasonal variation and creating memorable landmarks (significant trees). Our City’s urban forest performs a critical function, and provides a wide range of benefits including economic, health and well-being. It mitigates urban heat effects, making our City more liveable and resilient.

    What is green infrastructure?

    Green Infrastructure is the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems including parks, rivers, bushland and private gardens that are strategically planned, designed and managed to support a good quality of life in an urban environment.

    Green infrastructure should be thought of as the landscape element that surrounds and connects buildings, streets and utilities. Components of green infrastructure include:

    1. Green roofs and walls including roof gardens and living walls.
    2. Private and semi-private residential gardens including shared spaces around apartment buildings, backyards, balconies, roof gardens and community gardens.
    3. Squares and plazas including both public and private courtyards and forecourts.
    4. Public residential and other tree lined streets, including road verges.
    5. Parks and gardens including regional parks, well-designed urban parks, open space reserves and formal gardens.
    6. Greenways including river and creek corridors, cycleways and routes along major transport (road, rail and light rail) corridors.
    7. Sports and recreational facilities including ovals, school and other institutional playing fields, and other major parks and golf courses.
    8. Natural green space including national parks and nature reserves, waterways, wetlands and coastal margins.
    9. Agricultural and other productive land and farms including vineyards, market gardens, orchards.

    Will this Strategy include greening on both public and private land?

    Yes. The Strategy will inform decisions and investment made in relation to planning, management, and maintenance of green infrastructure on public and private land in urban areas.

    What is a ‘liveable city’?

    A liveable city is a city which meets the needs of a community across a wide range of factors, including access to employment, retail services, community facilities, access to housing, education, environmental sustainability and open spaces.

    How will Lake Macquarie’s liveability be boosted by this Strategy?

    Council undertook an assessment of liveability, considering how people live, work, exercise, and move through the local area and broader region. The assessment looked at the wellbeing of a community, and creating places where people would want to live both now and into the future. 

    Along with findings from the urban heat analysis and tree canopy cover assessment, the rankings of liveability in different areas will be used to inform greening actions in this Strategy. Actions will be initially focused on areas where liveability can be most effectively be improved (actions will target low tree canopy cover areas and suburbs identified as most vulnerable). 

    Which suburbs are most impacted by extreme heat in Lake Macquarie City?

    To understand our exposure to extreme heat, a baseline assessment was undertaken to understand the historic and current thermal comfort conditions experienced across the City. Urban areas were identified as having high exposure to extreme heat, mainly due to increased impervious cover and higher dwelling density. These areas are:

    • Argenton
    • Belmont / Belmont North
    • Bonnells Bay
    • Cameron Park
    • Cardiff / Glendale
    • Charlestown
    • Macquarie Hills
    • Morisset
    • Swansea / Caves Beach
    • Toronto
    • Warners Bay