Trees add beauty to our city

We’d all like to see more trees because they look good, they cool the city, and they clean our air.

Yarra policy and strategy

Yarra has a Street Tree Policy and an Urban Forest Strategy:

Council supports an increase in the quality and quantity of trees in its streets and is committed to the prioritisation of street trees through integrated streetscape design.

City of Yarra Street Tree Policy

The strategy identifies that we have an overall canopy coverage of 17%, and targets 21% by 2040. Streets Alive Yarra supports the vision and objectives of the strategy. The problem is that the target is too low, and we need a much higher level of canopy cover to have a meaningful impact.

Street Tree Policy and Urban Forest Strategy. Image credits: City of Yarra.

What Yarra can do

Council can increase the 2040 target for canopy cover in Yarra from 21% to either:

  • 30%, which is the minimum recommended by Infrastructure Victoria, or
  • 40%, which is the target adopted by the City of Melbourne.

In addition, council can update the Street Tree Policy and the Urban Forest Strategy to align with the Place Making Framework, the Local Liveable Streets Guide, and the Transport Strategy, clearly stating that council will plant larger trees on residential streets (in between parking bays) instead of smaller trees on the footpath reserve (which reduce the width of the footpath).

Example of larger trees planted between parked cars (in Kensington, Melbourne). Image credit: Google Maps.
Example of how locating larger trees between parking bays can form an urban forest. Image source: Sam Bloch on Twitter.

Example – shopping street

Typical 20-metre wide tram-based shopping streets, such as Swan Street or Brunswick Street, can have 6.4 metre wide areas that offer space for walking and cycling as well as integrated trees.

20-metre wide tram-based shopping street. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and StreetMix.

Example – access street

Typical 15-metre wide access streets, such as Cremorne Street, can have trees on opposite the side to the overhead power lines, enabling trees to grow to their full height.

15-metre wide access street. Trees on one side and power poles on the other. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and StreetMix.

Guidance from Strong Towns

Strong Towns explains the value of tree-lined streets.

Image credit: Strong Towns

Support from Resilient Melbourne

Resilient Melbourne and The Nature Conservancy have published Living Melbourne: Our metropolitan urban forest strategy:

Image credit: Resilient Melbourne

Local champion

Your local champion for trees is Australian Conservation Foundation Inner Melbourne (ACFIM). View all of Streets Alive Yarra’s champions on our supporters page.

As a local community volunteers group of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), we strongly support the goals and motivations of Streets Alive Yarra. ACF also aims to be an advocate for respecting and protecting nature at a national and local level so Streets Alive Yarra’s promotion of planting more trees to visually calm our streetscapes and enhance a feeling of nature around us is vital. Their promotion of a vibrant and safe urban environment for us all conveys our approach toothat us human beings are ultimately dependant on our urban and native environment for our wellbeing and at the end of the day our productivity as well. ACFIM partners with Melbourne Girls College in a native re-vegetation project on the Yarra River, so like Streets Alive Yarra we want to be part of the solutions to protecting and enjoying the beauty of life around us.

Don Vogt, Australian Conservation Foundation Inner Melbourne