In brief - Green space vital in the urban environment for health and wellbeing
With urban populations increasing in Queensland, the challenge for local governments is to manage tight budgets and maintain their constituents' high standard of living. This includes ensuring that access to green space in cities is not compromised.
Growing trend in Queensland towards urban living
According to recently released analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost half of Queensland's population now resides in Greater Brisbane and the population of this area is growing at a faster rate than the rest of Queensland. This rapid growth, along with the growth experienced in areas such as the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, reflects the growing trend in Queensland towards urban living.
Governments must maintain availability of urban green space despite increasing difficulties
Local governments face the difficult task of accommodating an increased urban population while continuing to uphold and increase the standard of living of their constituents. The logical method of accommodating an increased urban population is to utilise existing development infrastructure through infill and brownfield development.
However, in doing so, local governments and the development industry must be careful to not compromise Queensland's standard of living through a decrease in urban open space.
Urban green space shown to benefit health
A movement by 202020 Vision to increase urban green space by 20% by 2020 continues to generate support from sectors ranging from local governments and developers to universities and health insurers.
Research continues to flood out of the University of Exeter in the UK, showing the short-term and long-term health and wellbeing benefits of increased green space, particularly in the urban environment.
The juggling act for Queensland's local governments will be to manage their increasingly tight budgets (due to restrictions in the Federal budget and the state's infrastructure planning and funding reform) while providing an increasingly high standard of living for their growing populations.
Innovative planning is key to providing increased urban open space
The goal of providing increased urban green space in today's economic environment will require innovative planning and the support of both local governments and the development industry. Let's hope we can all work together to find room for trees in the ever expanding urban jungle.
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