AILA calls on Federal Government to lead the world in green infrastructure for a healthier nation

THE Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has urged the Federal Government to take a global leadership position on Green Infrastructure, and formally acknowledge Australia's urban landscape as a key driver for improved health, environmental and social outcomes by 2055.

A National Green Infrastructure Strategy is the figurehead of four key recommendations AILA made in a submission to Infrastructure Australia's 15 Year Infrastructure Plan for Australia.

With close to 80 per cent of Australian adults predicted to be overweight or obese by 2025, AILA is urging the government to consider the tangible physical, social, economic and environmental impacts well-designed public spaces and cities have been proven to produce.

National Arboretum Canberra
Above: The National Arboretum Canberra Masterplan won the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects' 2014 Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture / by J.Mohr_photography.

"The Government have the opportunity now to reprioritise outdoor spaces like parks, streetscapes and public precincts to support healthier modes of transport that enable our population to be more active," said AILA CEO, Shahana McKenzie.

"Creating cities that encourage people to get outdoors and connect with their community are essential preventative health measures and can have a real impact in reducing escalating health care costs," she continued.

The four strategic recommendations proposed by AILA's submission are:

  • A National Green Infrastructure Strategy from the Federal Government to provide guidance on how infrastructure projects can be a catalyst for enhanced landscape outcomes through green infrastructure investment. The Strategy will include a policy statement to articulate the government's position on infrastructure investment and investment action areas;
  • Minimum 'SITES' Ratings for Federally Funded Projects to encourage a global standard of integration of natural and physical infrastructure;
  • A National Green Infrastructure Training Program for built environment practitioners, including engineers, planners and senior level policy makers involved in the planning, design and development of infrastructure across a diversity of asset classes; and
  • A Project Briefing Guide for Integrating Landscape through Infrastructure Development to become the key national resource used to influence project briefing processes on federally funded projects.

In proposing its key recommendations, the submission cites the global transition away from single purpose 'grey infrastructure', to more multi-purpose infrastructure that mimics nature, provides critical ecosystem services and promotes healthy and active living. "

We strongly believe that increasing the nation's investment in Green Infrastructure is a minor cost that brings significant medium and long term benefits to the liveability of Australia's urban and rural areas," Ms McKenzie said.

With State and Local Government primed for accelerating Green Infrastructure opportunities at the project development level, national leadership from Infrastructure Australia would catalyse greater value for federally funded infrastructure investments, according to AILA.

Photo: National Arboretum Canberra / The National Arboretum Canberra Masterplan won the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects' Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture / J.Mohr_photography / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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