The Entertainer – City of Vincent’s lifts ban on Icecream Trucks

Keep an eye out for the City of Vincent’s draft ‘Mobile Food Vendor’ policy over the coming weeks!

Last night (2nd December 2014) City of Vincent Council considered the draft and agreed it was ready to go out for public comment. Hurray! The Food Truck take over is alive and strong.

Two major changes as far as I can see, the first being that they will lift their current ban on “itinerant vendors” AKA Ice cream vans! Watch out Vincent residents, soon the delicious sound of impending soft serve will be tinkling gently through your house on a sunny sunday afternoon.

simpsons icecream truck

The second change being that they have identified a few car parking bays throughout the city where licenced food trucks can park and trade.

Here is the  City of Vincent 2 Dec Agenda, the pages concerning the new policy if you fancy a look. I’ll be having a closer look when it comes out!

Congratulations City of Vincent!

 

 

The Landscape Institute – ‘Investing Green Infrastructure’

This is a great little animated video about the role of green infrastructure in cities.

We can create an integrated network of green spaces which provides residents with beautiful streetscapes and public spaces whilst manageing water, reducing heat and providing habitat. Integrate the green through street trees, green roofs, gardens, and parks. Be flexible and think outside the turf grass oval.

Invest in Green Infrastructure is produced by the Landscape Institute – UK. It is aimed at inspiring local decision-makers and communities to make the most of their land, while helping wildlife to flourish, reducing flood risk, providing green open space for all, and delivering a wide range of economic, health and community benefits.

Find out more at landscapeinstitute.org/gi

Invest in Green Infrastructure from Room60 on Vimeo.

Neighbourhood Trees

I’ve been thinking a little bit about urban greenery recently. I am lucky enough to have always lived near trees. My last home was next to a gorgeous bush block which made up for (sort of) the fact that trees where pretty much completely removed from the rest of the housing development. My new home is on a beautiful tree lined street. Its an older neighbourhood so there are plenty of beautiful large trees. It’s been especially great during autumn when there was a beautiful carpet of leaves to run/dance through.

Street Trees Victoria Park, Western Australia. Taken by Chris @lolroy

So trees in urban areas don’t just look pretty, they support community health, happiness and well-being, provide habitat and reduce heat, amongst other things.

I just read a great blog post by Kaid Benfield of the US Natural Resources Defence Council entitled “What trees mean to communities: more than you may think.” Particularly interesting was the crowd sourced inventory of street trees in San Diego.

He lists a few community benefits of trees;

  • “The net cooling effect of single, young healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners, running for 20 hours a day. 10 air conditioners, a single tree!!
  • A tree planted today on the west side of your house will result in a 3% energy savings in the five years time, 12% savings in fifteen years.
  • A single stand of trees reduces particulate pollution 9-13%, with the amount of dust reaching the ground beneath those trees 27-42%, versus in an open area.
  • If you have trees on your property near your home it accounts for 10-23% of your home value.
  • In urban areas, assuming the cost of planting and maintaining a tree for three years at $250-600, it will return $90,000 in direct benefits over its lifetime (apart from beautification, etc.).” Summary by Treehugger.

One of the most awful things I see day to day as a planner are the words “clear, fill and drain” meaning get everything off the land, fill it up with sand, add those lovely limestone retaining walls to even out all the blocks and give that Mediterranean feel, and connect it all up to the storm water drainage system to get rid of all the water. From that an ecosystem will never recover.

Trees are a bit difficult to protect in the current planning system. If its not native its not protected, if its not considered a “significant” tree, its not protected (in normal areas, not near the river, bush forever etc. which have much better protection). The problem is we don’t have a universally recognised definition of what is considered to be “significant”. Each local government and agency have different ideas and what matters to the community might not be captured by either of them.

For example, if you lived next to a gorgeous Ghost Gum (Corymbia aparreinja, native to central Australia) which provided a lovely view and shade for your backyard but was in your neighbours property there is nothing you could do to prevent it from being removed if the owner decided to.

I believe that there are many trees which are not native that are worthy of protection, many of my fellow enviros would disagree because these “weeds” do not further our mission to support endemic biodiversity. The huge Norfolk Pine trees at Cottesloe, for example. Not native but they are significant not just in terms of shade and habitat but for place.

Some Local Governments have considered a “Significant Tree Register” but because of the amount of work involved in setting it up and the legal ramifications they have  been mostly put aside in the “too hard” pile. You hit problems listing anything on a private property as “significant” because you enter the realm of property rights. So any trees on private property would need to be volunteered by the property owner in order to be on the protected list.

Perhaps a crowd sourced database of those “significant” trees, important to the community, is a way forward. How, I wonder, would that work given that many people have a bit of a fear of having trees above their houses. It would be interesting to see which trees had the most communal love. I would wager that local governments would get a good understanding of how important street trees and shady parks are.

The Last Child In The Woods

Where other books talk about problems, dissect them, give you all the research and leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by the problems of the world,  Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods is active and comforting.

Nature play is truly wonderful and its something that has captured my imagination for a very long time. I thoroughly believe that bruised knees are better than busied spirits. Children and adults all need to play, explore, create and discover in nature in order to grow and also to fully appreciate the world around them. Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” and whilst he has copped a little bit of flack about calling it a “disorder” it’s definitely eye catching. I don’t think he meant it to be considered like a disease, he uses it in the general sense to group together all the ramifications of not being let out into the world to play.

It is a crucially important issue as we plan for the future of our cities, schools and families. This is not about parents letting go of bubble wrapping their children, its about designing spaces which speak to parents and children. I think to hold on to pushing parents to let their children out into the deep bush on their own is daft. Sure that would be awesome but if you have to work up to that. Being concious of nature, being excited by it, in awe of it, developing respect for it should be a part of life, not just on special occasions. Developing common sense in the bush is something that can begin at the neighbour park, in the backyard and by the pool, from day 1.

We can design our lives and our communities to embrace nature, not set aside land for it surrounded by a fence, and the community as a whole will benefit. The first step is to really appreciate, as professionals, the importance of nature play and then get out there and experience it.

This is a must read for educators, parents, planners, urban designers, parks officers (those guys who put those brightly coloured plastic “playgrounds”everywhere) and policy writers.

Richard Louv has a new book also The Nature Principle which is more geared towards adults, its next on my reading list!

Keep your eye out, coming soon is a post about Perth’s very own “designed” nature play space in Kings Park. 

Also check out Richard Louv’s website, Nature Play WA, and The Children and Nature Network for very interesting reading and inspiration.

Perth – The City of Cranes

Wondering why they are digging up the footpath, why the skyline is scattered with cranes, why their are trucks in the Perth CBD again?

I’ll try and keep you in the loop.

Follow my Pinterest board – Perth, and when news releases/projects get approved or announced, I’ll put a link to them so you can be in the know and the envy of all your friends.

I’ve only just started so if you see something and its not on there let me know and I’ll add it!

Kat