As we head into the season of Djeran with the landscape parched on our south west corner of the country and seemingly never ending floods saturating the east coast of Australia the looming and now present climate crisis should be at the forefront of our minds.
This brings to mind the recent success of the AILA National Festival with its aptly titled theme of Spectacle and Collapse which cannot be any more accurate over the last few weeks. As the world media seem to have its attention and focus on the spectacle of one person’s poor decision making in a very public event and turned away from the unexpected dual arctic extreme heat events and the collapse of an arctic ice shelf, one could certainly despair. However we can take solace in the fact that we are working in a profession that not only has impact in people’s immediate lives and wellbeing, but has impact across generations, for both people and the environment.
One great way I have seen this work evolve recently has been through the Naturelink Perth initiative of which AILA is represented on their Core Strategic Network alongside a number of other government agencies and non-profit organisations. The group recently celebrated the release of a GIS mapping portal that shows a network of “Naturelinks” that have the potential to allow species movement to continue (albeit restricted by the urban form) across the Perth and Peel Metropolitan area.
These initiatives, backed by on ground demonstration projects such as woody meadows gardens, working with utilities such as Water Corporation to green their infrastructure networks, are amongst many that are essential as both a climate change adaptation and mitigation measures by increasing vegetation across our urban areas.
However you don’t have to be involved in these groups to make a difference. There are so many simple actions that we can take when designing spaces that will have impact across generations. Include the biggest trees you possibly can, try and minimise hard exposed surfaces that will become heat sinks. Be nice to engineers and work with them to incorporate green infrastructure such as raingardens, tree canopy, vegetation and beauty within their projects (even better try and work with them on project briefs).
AILA will be releasing some great documents and policies in the climate space this year that will position our profession as a leader in the Climate change response. The Climate Positive Design Framework is something we can all be proud of supporting by being AILA members. We need to make rapid and radical societal change and what better way to do this than with plants, spaces and by creating beauty wherever we work.