Willoughby City Council keen to learn about Green Infrastructure initiatives
Willoughby City Council’s Sustainability Reference Group (SRG) invited Robert Griffith, a Director of the Green Roof Association of Australasia to discuss technical aspects of green infrastructure to their regular meeting in December 2014. The presentation included green infrastructure initiatives in Chicago, Dubai, Germany, Malaysia and Australia of various projects Robert has worked on.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss green initiatives for Willoughby Council. SRG members include representatives of a diverse community, business, youth, non-government organisations, the scientific community and a Councillor representative. Councillor Lynne Saville was at the meeting and made it clear of her desire to increase biodiversity, reduce the heat island effect and water runoff. Janet France, Chair of the SRG and founder of North Shore Climate Action group was also keen to see a mitigation of the heat island effect and increase in pedestrian comfort in Willoughby.
Benefits of green infrastructure, particularly in Chatswood include the natural cooling effects plants provide, reduction in peak stormwater flows, water quality improvements, beautification of our harsh city structures and a lot more.
Green infrastructure is widespread in many major cities in the world. It is tried and proven technology with which actually increases the life of buildings and reduces operating costs. Owners and developers gain with substantial increased sales and property values. Of course, there are enormous environmental benefits too. Many countries have mandated its implementation, including Germany, Holland and Switzerland. Other countries actively support greening projects.
The difficulties faced by Council and the reason this technology is not widespread include the development of suitable policies, development control plans, training and demonstration projects. The lack of green projects makes it difficult to show developers how much they can improve property prices. Willoughby, like other councils, is keen to provide sustainable outcomes in their urban environment.
The Green Roof Australasia is here to help members with technical information, policy, training and assistance with projects. We are keen to assist government bodies to achieve their desired outcomes. GRA are particularly good at training, policy development and advice on council DCP's. The team of Directors at GRA also manage green infrastructure works and look forward to opportunities to undertake demonstration projects.
Image: Chicago Council Green Roof
Image: Robert Griffith studying the ecosystem services of the endangered prairie community in Illinois. This is where water is purified by natural systems for supply to major cities. The same as is emulated on the green roof of Chicago City Council.
About author: Robert Griffith is one of five Directors of the Green Roofs Australasia. He has been building green roofs, vertical gardens and water management systems for 35 years.