Urban greening projects in Melbourne’s west are contributing to making the region cooler, more pleasant and healthier to live in and travel through. The key to this success is the Greening the West initiative. Since 2011 this has brought together 23 organisations that, by the end of 2018, will have collectively planted more than 1 million trees in Melbourne’s west.
The program’s efforts not only offer clear health and economic benefits for the region’s residents, but are also welcome news in the face of reports that tree canopy cover in Australian cities is generally declining.
Our recent report on Greening the West has found that, while it is a great success, much more work is needed – particularly from the Victorian government.
What is Greening the West?
Urban greening provides a variety of economic, mental and physical health benefits to the public. Greening an area can increase house prices, encourage walking and cycling, and make people feel happier.
Measures of socioeconomic and health status are generally poorer in Melbourne’s west. Compounding this disadvantage, the region has less quality green space than metropolitan averages. Melbourne’s western suburbs have tree canopy coverage of only 5% to 10%, compared to between 10% and 30% in the rest of the city’s suburbs.
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