The Fishermans Bend precinct, about 5km from the Melbourne’s city centre, is nearly twice the size of the CBD.
By 2050, about 80,000 residents will call the area home, and the redevelopment is putting biodiversity at the forefront.
Led by RMIT University’s Dr Holly Kirk, this is the first real-world application of Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design at Fisherman's Bend.
Kirk, from the ICON Science team based at the Centre for Urban Research, says creating space for “everyday nature” in cities can improve wellbeing and connect residents to Indigenous history and culture.
To achieve this vision, she shares seven ways local governments around the country can deliver high-quality biodiversity outcomes in their own urban environments.
1. Identify and protect existing vegetation
Diverse vegetation is key for enhancing biodiversity in new and existing developments.
Existing vegetation is valuable because it provides resources for immediate use by native species as well as other instant benefits such as urban cooling.
Plants on a site also provide critical information about which areas are currently suitable for hosting new vegetation.
Often trees within the public realm are the only form of vegetation that is assessed but you need a comprehensive assessment of the quantity and quality of all types of vegetation currently on a site before planning and development.
2. Dedicate “green links” connecting workers and residents
Green links are corridors that connect wildlife and habitat pockets across suburbs, backyards and public parks.
These links, made up of connected linear parks, include large canopy trees, diverse understorey vegetation, space for walking and cycling, and places for storing stormwater.
This contributes to multiple levels of biodiversity infrastructure and significantly improves ecological connectivity.
Green links allow people to travel across a development safely away from vehicles and pollution. The links promote outdoor exercise and help people to form everyday connections with nature.