|Two City of Sydney programs are bringing more plant life to Sydney’s streets and making it easier and more pleasant for residents, workers and visitors to move around the city.
As part of the Greening Sydney Plan, the City is boosting standard footpath improvements by taking the opportunity to install new garden beds, trees and shrubs to soften and enhance the appearance of streets and public places.
The City has already undertaken a range of projects – with before and after photographs showing how streets can be instantly improved – and committed more than $75 million to the Footway Renewal and Public Domain Landscaping programs over the next 10 years.
Beauchamp Hotel publican, Sue Ritchie, said the introduction of planter boxes and a new garden near her hotel at the corner of Oxford and South Dowling streets had made a huge impact on the area, known as Three Saints Square.
“The little garden and the planter boxes on all five corners of the intersection help bring the community together – it’s a simple, simple thing, but really important because it has brought happiness to the area,” Ms Ritchie said.
“Every day, instead of it being grey, urban, hard and austere, it’s just mood lifting. You wouldn’t believe the positive feedback we get about how softening and pleasant the little plants are.
“For the little garden, the community had input into the design, which was fantastic of the City of Sydney, who also put a sculpture and a little seat there. It’s fabulous.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said increasing Sydney’s tree canopy and other plantings helped make the city a better place to live, work and visit.
“Greener streets help improve people’s wellbeing, cool neighbourhoods and support the wildlife that calls Sydney home, such as birds, small mammals and butterflies,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Streets and public spaces make up almost a third of our city area. By using these available spaces as garden beds, we can contribute greatly to increasing urban canopy, reducing the impact of the urban heat-island effect, as well as filtering stormwater before it reaches our harbour and waterways.
“The new garden beds have made dramatic improvements to the appearance of our streets and public spaces, making them more attractive to pedestrians and businesses.”
Some of the improvements have also been made under the City’s Traffic Safety Plan, targeting areas and streets with high rates of vehicle accidents.
The City’s 10-year corporate plan, with a record $1.94 billion infrastructure program, includes major financial commitments for projects at Green Square, George Street, Barangaroo and Harold Park, providing a boost to the city’s economy, businesses and employment.
About 2,000 new jobs a year will be created off the back of the plan, which includes more than 400 projects across the City’s local government area.