Lord mayor Robert Doyle has announced that the City of Melbourne is on a mission to turn the concrete jungle into an actual jungle, with a $1.2 million Urban Forest Fund.
Not only will an increase in vegetation help to protect against extreme heat (something we'll be getting lots more of in years to come), but the greener the city, the more liveable it is. And as Melbourne's population rises exponentially, maintaining and cultivating new open spaces is essential.
So what will the 'greening' of the city entail, exactly? "The initiatives could include planting trees, creating parks, green walls, roofs and façades and stormwater projects," says Robert Doyle. Right now, the City of Melbourne is planting about 3,000 trees a year.
But that's not all. The City of Melbourne owns about a fifth of the land area, which means that it is up to private property owners to get on board for a full green transformation. Doyle has announced that the City of Melbourne will be matching any private investor in the Urban Forest Fund dollar-for-dollar, aiming to grow the fund to $10 million.
With this money, Melbourne's urban planners will turn much of their attention skywards, with the creation of as many rooftop gardens as possible. The City of Melbourne has created an online tool to map all the rooftops in their municipality to determine whether they can be turned into green or solar roofs.
The City of Melbourne hopes that in the years to come, Melbourne will boast 10 tennis courts worth of green rooftops and 4,600 hectares of green façades on buildings. And by 2040, the plan is that urban canopy will be 40 per cent (as opposed to today's 22 per cent).
If the prospect of a leafier Melbourne excites you, then you can get involved by donating to the Urban Forest Fund.
This announcement is part of a wider transformation of the face of the city. In a few short years, we'll have the Metro Tunnel, and a fully upgraded, pedestrianised southern end of Elizabeth Street. Here's what it will look like: