Sustainable parks, including learnings from Paris (Note this video takes a short while to load)

Open Space Planning and Management is increasingly becoming more challenging, balancing the increasing expectations of the community, who demand exceptionally well maintained green spaces, with growing concerns over the use of herbicides, and loss of biodiversity.
Susan Hecker – Examples from Paris. Susan was the recipient of the 2019 Greg Maddock Memorial Grant, a PLA Vic/Tas Region annual grant designed to support a member in a professional development activity. She travelled to France and Belgium to meet with a range of professionals who program and manage parks to address the challenge of population growth and a changing climate. She also attended the 2019 Nature of Cities Summit in Paris to further expand strategic thinking for the future of our Cities’ parks. Whilst attending the Nature of Cities Summit held in Paris in 2019, Susan was able to experience Paris public spaces and talk to Council staff to understand how these challenges are being addressed through alternative methods, community education and design of places. Daniel Breuiller, Vice President, Metropole du Grande Paris emphasised, “the Metropolis of tomorrow will be green or unliveable”. The Government of Paris does not separate liveability of neighbourhoods, sports and recreation or other services and facilities from biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaption. So what are we doing back home to adapt to climate change and manage biodiversity whilst meeting community expectations?
Jason Summers – Street Trees, Cool Parks – how operational decisions can create a sustainable parks network. Managing over 3,000 hectares of parks and open space in a growth Council has its challenges, and making decisions to become more sustainable is not easy. However, we have implemented a number of changes at Hume City Council that are achieving good results, such as reducing herbicide use, using organic fertilisers, and making compost tea.Increasing organic matter in the soil by 10% can increase water holding capacity of a one hectare area by 100,000 litres! Planting over 5,000 trees annually for the last 18 years in streets and parks has slowly transformed the City, all leading to a cooler, greener, and more robust environment.



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Susan Hecker, Manager Parks and Urban Design, City of Whittlesea and Jason Summers, Manager of Parks, City of Hume


Summers, Jason (Author); Hecker, Susan (Author)


Parks & Leisure Australia – (VICTAS): 2021