Living Melbourne: Our Metropolitan Urban Forest

Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forest is a bold new strategy for a greener, more liveable Melbourne. It presents a vision of international significance in its massive scale, its outstanding collaboration, and its use of new and innovative mapping technology. In developing the strategy, we have brought together 32 metropolitan councils, state government agencies, non-government and community organisations, and other partners united around a common vision for an urban forest – thriving and resilient communities, connected through nature. Living Melbourne establishes tangible next steps for action to turn that vision into reality. Made up of all the trees, shrubs, grasses, soil and water on public and private land across metropolitan Melbourne, our urban forest protects human health, nurtures abundant nature and strengthens natural infrastructure. Living Melbourne aims to create a profound shift in the way we think about, build, grow and value Melbourne. Until recently, cities have existed in conflict with nature. Increasingly, around the world, people understand that the success and long-term viability of cities depend on them being able to live alongside nature. This is neatly expressed in Melbourne through the concept of our urban forest. The urban forest cleans our air and water, reduces damaging heat in our neighbourhoods, and provides valuable habitat for flora and fauna. Exposure to nature reduces stress and the incidence of mental illness, and it provides opportunities to strengthen community bonds by providing spaces where people can congregate and recreate. The 21st century will be remembered as the urban century, the century with the most significant urban growth ever witnessed. This is not news for Melbourne. With a population of eight million people projected for 2051, we will soon be the largest city in one of the most urbanised nations on the planet. 1 Given the difficulties that we will face in the urban century, it is crucial that we create and nurture our urban forest. Melburnians value and are proud of their parks and gardens. Admirable efforts are already under way to add to the natural features that make our city a safe, healthy and pleasant place to live. But Melbourne’s urban forest is under pressure. Changes in urban form, a growing population and climate change – including increasing urban heat – leave it vulnerable. At the moment we lack a metropolitan-wide approach to assess and reduce the harm that these trends inflict upon the city and existing urban forest. This strategy, Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forest, is a timely and invaluable opportunity to rise to these challenges. In pursuit of the vision – thriving and resilient communities, connected through nature – and the three goals that support this vision – healthy people, abundant nature and natural infrastructure – this strategy proposes a series of actions to help our rapidly changing city better protect, connect and enhance our urban forest. The strategy, if implemented, will help transform the city for the benefit of all Melburnians.



Geographic Coverage



The Nature Conservancy: 2019