1.1 Using the natural environment to build our adaptive capacity

While at risk itself, the natural environment can also be used to shield us from some of the impacts of climate change. Retaining water in the environment, spreading our green spaces, and increasing our tree canopy can assist us to cool our municipality. Water and greening are two inextricably linked components, vital for us to use our natural environment for adaptation.

The strategy identified this area as key priority for the City of Melbourne. Numerous strategies have been developed since that have progressed work in this space. These include: the Urban Forest Strategy 2012-2032, Open Space Strategy 2012, Total Watermark – City as a Catchment update 2014, Growing Green Guide 2014, and the Elizabeth Street Catchment Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan 2015.

While we have achieved a lot in this space, others are taking bigger steps. In 2010, City of Copenhagen mandated the use of green roofs for most new local developments. These green roofs provide benefits for cooling the city and flood mitigation. Today, it is estimated that Copenhagen is expecting a total of 200.000 m2 of green roofs to be installed over the next few years.

Q. What big steps should we take to encourage the use of the natural environment in both the private and public realm?