Only a few years ago, if you mentioned the words sustainability, green, or global warming you were probably met with an eye roll and maybe some sort of off-handed remark about being a hippy. Now, the opposite has happened: it’s totally uncool to be disinterested in the environment, as celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio bring climate change to the foreground for the public.
Locally, the Adelaide City Council in South Australia is leading by example. Our new Adelaide Design Manual provides strategic and technical guidance for designing streets, squares, parks, with a strong focus on greening and water-sensitive urban design. The design manual will help the city achieve ambitious goals identified in the 2016-2020 draft strategic plan: to become one of the world’s first carbon-neutral cities; plant an extra 100,000 square meters of greenery by 2020; and provide a path to a real reduction in city temperatures by 2040.
The Adelaide Design Manual outlines a greener approach when designing for Adelaide and ensures consistency across projects at all scales. This means whether you are working on a garden, green wall, or multi-million dollar project, the principles for greening are exactly the same.
These principles include:
- Considering and integrating greening across the city and at all stages of public space design;
- Creating a connected network of greening;
- Reinforcing the urban character through thoughtful approaches to greening;
- Harnessing the multiple functions greening can provide through shade, shelter, stormwater management, and traffic calming;
- Creating conditions for the success and longevity of greening by providing the right conditions for greenery to survive;
- Using greenery to provide beautiful, comfortable, and inviting spaces that enhance the city’s social and economic value; and
- Maximizing the seasonal benefits of greening for high-activity streets and enhanced building performance.
So much of our daily life is shaped around the public spaces we inhabit. The Adelaide Design Manual’s approaches will help the city improve these spaces, enabling greater accessibility, community health, and safety, and promoting a stronger sense of cultural identity and neighborhood character, supporting a sense of civic pride. In a warming world, the successful implementation of green infrastructure will bring more people outdoors and boost their well-being.
Some approaches will cost more up front, but realize savings in the long term. For example, Adelaide City Council’s Go Green with Public Lighting project has swapped 1,500 lights from halogen to LED lighting, which have a lower life cycle cost and will save the city $150,000 annually over their lifetime.
The Adelaide Design Manual will transform Adelaide into a design-led city, focusing on quality, not quantity, through gradual and long-term change.
The manual will provide the foundation and clear direction for the future of Adelaide as one of the world’s great small cities.
This guest post is by Suzanna Parisi, Adelaide City Council.