More public green space per Australian needed for better community health

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Updated: July 14, 2014

Decreasing access to private green space in Australia’s densest suburbs means more public open space is needed, say Turf Australia

Turf Australia, the not-for-profit body that represents Aussie turf growers, is calling upon Australian councils to increase the amount of usable turfed public space per person, as the shift to high-density living is resulting in a decline in the amount of private green space, and the impact on environmental and community benefits that come with it. As urban areas continue to grow, apartment developments begin to overrun stand-alone homes with a backyard.

“The lack of greenery and landscaping areas in dense urban areas means backyards are being compromised – this needs to be fixed, for environmental, financial and social reasons,” says Turf Australia president, Anthony Muscat.

“In these areas, it is even more important to ensure that there are publicly available open, turfed space, such as parks, sporting fields and recreational areas. It’s been proven that families and children in high-density urban areas have more to gain from public green space – it’s an integral component of public health,” he continues.

A lack of green space contributes to the ‘heat island’ effect, where heavily developed areas can be a few degrees hotter than the countryside. This is because surfaces such as roads, foothpaths and the sides of buildings absorb and release energy from the sun. The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that cities should have a minimum of 16sqm of green space, per person, to help improve the quality of life of its residents by facilitating active and healthy lifestyles.

Muscat believes in the power and role of councils in creating a greener future for families and residents of Australia.

The benefits of living near a healthy, green environment can contribute largely to a community’s overall liveability and success.

As well as acting as a filter for the air, turfed areas also encourage physical activity – sporting fields and parks are a major source of recreation for children and adults alike.

Publicly available green space is an integral component of a healthy community, and councils need to increase the amount of public lawned areas for the wellbeing and quality of life of their residents.