Excerpt originally published in the Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2018SHFA greenwall

Talk is cheap and it’s high time the State Government finally delivers more urban greening projects before Sydney loses its unique, world-class appeal, a leading landscape architect says.

In the wake of Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week committing $290 million to boost liveability and quality of life across Sydney, a former key planning member of the Olympic Coordination Authority said the government was in “catch-up mode” and needed to take a leaf out of the City of Sydney Council’s green book.

“We’re about to enter another epic time in the life of Sydney,” Mike Horne, director of Turf Design Studio, said at an Urban Taskforce forum on Wednesday.

“The State Government could be doing more (greening) projects such as One Central Park (at Chippendale), a project between the Federal Government and the City (of Sydney Council).

“The City does way more than the State Government, in terms of leading the way. All the (urban planning) guidelines are good from the state, but it needs more implementation. There’s too much talking these days and not enough action.”

The urban designer said Sydney had much to learn from “best-practice” environmental projects in the United States and Singapore.

“We’re in the game of creating a world-class city to compete against the likes of New York, where they have a functional area like Central Park which provides green lungs to help the city breathe,” he said.

“In Dallas, they have a freeway running underneath (Klyde Warren Park) after repurposing the city through joint public-private partnerships. And Singapore is another good case study on how urban greening can work well.”

A GOLDEN GREEN SOLUTION

A New, cutting-edge green wall defence is about to be rolled out across Sydney to breathe new life into the Harbour City.

The ‘Junglefy Breathing Wall’, a world-first design which reduces pollution by up to 40 per cent as it “cleans air”, will be installed on the B-Line commuter carpark in Manly Vale in the next three months.

Jock Gammon, managing director of Junglefy, said the new technology was being picked up from as far away as smog-riddled China.

“We’ve been researching the breathing wall for three years now with the University of Technology Sydney,” the horticulturalist said.
“We’ve already built internal breathing walls, but the Manly Vale project will be installed (for the first time at a Sydney outdoor carpark) in June or July.

“We’re doing another breathing wall project with North Sydney Council, alongside the Pacific Highway.”

He said the latest greening solution “looks beautiful” and also “cleans the air and water, provides biodiversity and stormwater runoff”.

“There are many environmental benefits with it,” Mr Gammon said.

“We should be putting more plants on buildings, having more green roofs … and doing retrofitting of existing buildings with plants.

“It’s never too late for urban greening.”

The State Government’s top landscape architect said a 25 per cent green canopy target for medium to high density areas would ensure Sydney remained a worldclass, liveable city.

“Green infrastructure is essential infrastructure … and as integral to Sydney’s metabolism as roads,” said Barbara Schaffer, the Principal Landscape Architect for the Government Architect NSW.

“Green space shouldn’t only be seen as being for recreation.”