Trees in a Liveable City: An Urban Forest Conference

On Friday, 27 November 2020 WALGA hosted Trees in a Liveable City: An Urban Forest Conference at the University of Western Australia. The Conference featured a series of presentations, concurrent sessions, workshops, and a panel discussion to tackle issues in growing urban tree canopy in Western Australia. The event showcased best practice examples and challenges from Local Government and State Government, academics, the legal sector and consultants.    

Image: Audience members at the conference heard from a range of speakers, including interstate speakers from the City of Melbourne and Greener Spaces Better Places. 

Topics addressed at the conference included:

  • benefits of trees in a changing climate
  • political realities of improving tree canopy
  • behaviour change and community engagement in urban forestry
  • data and mapping tools for increasing equitability and resilience in canopy targets, and planning
  • greenfield development and tree retention
  • latest research on urban forests and reducing urban heat, better biodiversity outcomes, and urban densification impacts
  • incorporating trees and infrastructure for better drainage, permeability, increasing green spaces, and stormwater management outcomes
  • increasing biodiversity benefits, building tree resilience, managing disease and driving successful outcomes in planting the urban forest
  • planning and tree retention during development
  • species selection for future climates

To view the conference program, click here.

A presenter list and presentations can be accessed below. A summary of the key points for each presentation has been compiled and is avaible here.

Plenary Session 1:

Hon Dave Kelly, Minister for Water; Forestry; Innovation and ICT; Science; Youth
Topic: Opening Address

Professor Len Collard, School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia
Topic: Welcome to Country

David Callow, Director Parks & City Greening, City of Melbourne
Topic: Urban Forestry at the City of Melbourne - Current challenges and opportunities

Image: Professor Len Collard, Hon Dave Kelly, and Cr Doug Thompson presented at the conference. 

Plenary Session 2:

Naomi Lawrance, Development Manager, DevelopmentWA
Topic: OneOneFive Hamilton Hill-A Case Study in Water Sensitive, Climate Responsive Design
Jess Miller, Project Director, Greener Spaces Better Places
Topic: Where Could All The Trees Be? WA Launch

Concurrent Sessions

The Benefits of Trees in a Changing Climate:

Cr Dan Bull, Mayor, City of Bayswater
Topic: The way in which a Local Government can lead the way in increasing tree canopy, and the headwinds it faces in doing so.
Dr Josh Byrne, Director, Josh Byrne & Associates
Topic: Creating Canopy-Adapting to a changing climate and landscape
Associate Professor Sally Thompson, Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Western Australia
Topic: Tree water requirements and the water costs associated with trees for urban cooling: strategic thinking about how and where we best deploy trees in a drying and warming climate
Greg Simpson, Sessional Academic, Murdoch University
Topic: Trees for Humans and Nature in a Changing Climate

Behaviour Change and Community Perceptions:

Pierre Quesnel, Senior Place Leader (Urban Forest), Town of Victoria Park
Topic: The Deep End: Deepening engagement to build support for Urban Forest Actions
Ruth Cripps, Senior Program Officer, Greening Australia and Dr May Carter, Research Associate, The Behaviour Change Collaborative
Topic: Our Park, Our Place-collaboration in action

Data and Urban Forests:

Karen Sweeney, Urban Forest Manager, City of Sydney
Topic: Beyond Boundaries-New spatial analysis for equitable and resilient greening
David Ford, Senior Parks Services Officer, City of Canning
Topic: The use of remote sensing in setting urban canopy targets: City of Canning Urban Forest Strategy
Renata Zelinova, Business Development Officer (LGmap), WALGA
Topic: Using LGmap to plan green spaces

Greenfield Development:

Dan Pearce, Partner, Hatch Roberts Day
Topic: Bushmead “Shaped by Nature”
Peter Ciemitis, Principal, Hatch Roberts Day
Topic: More Harm Than Good: Unintended Tree Loss Through Contemporary Planning, and Possible Directions for Practice Change
Rachel Pleasant, Acting Director, Planning and Development Services, City of Cockburn
Topic: Case Study: Beeliar Structure Plan tree retention (2018) and Cockburn’s emerging Local Planning Framework changes to address tree retention

Latest Research:

Associate Professor Stephen Livesley, Ecosystem and Forest Science, University of Melbourne
Topic: Trees for shading and cooling paths and cycle ways in Australian cities
Associate Professor Bryan Boruff, School of Agriculture and Environment, University of Western Australia
Topic: Leaf my neighbourhood alone! Predicting the influence of densification on residential tree canopy cover in Perth
Dr Cristina Ramalho and Dr Dawn Dickinson, UWA School of Biological Sciences, NESP Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (CAUL Hub)
Topic: Managing the urban forest in a global biodiversity hotspot

Mixing Trees and Infrastructure:

Vic Bijl, Arborist, City of Belmont
Topic: Legitimate root zones and stormwater drainage for high density, maximum paves landscapes
Adele Gismondi, Manager-Water Efficiency Partnerships, Water Corporation and Perry Beor, Senior Engineer-Asset Protection, Water Corporation
Topic: Greening Perth and Protecting Infrastructure
Brendan Oversby, Director, Oversby Consulting
Topic: Gaining canopy and liveability through better stormwater management: learnings from trials and implementation within the City of Bunbury

Planting for Biodiversity:

Dr Jane Chambers, Director, NatureLink Perth, Murdoch University
Topic: How to achieve bonus biodiversity benefits from your Urban Forestry Strategy
Rob Bodenstaff, Managing Director, The Arbor Centre
Topic: The Contract Growing of Trees for Local Government . . . A Pathway to Successful Outcomes
Professor Kingsley Dixon, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Curtin University
Topic: Disease management and tree resilience in WA

Technical Workshop-Which Tree Where?:

Professor Michelle Leishman, Chief Investigator of the Which Plant Where Project?
Topic: Species selection for future climates

Redeveloping Around Trees:

Janine Egan, Acting Director, DesignWA, Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
Topic: Medium Density Housing Code-A House for Every Tree
Joanne Burgess, Urban Forest Senior Project Officer, City of Stirling
Topic: Learnings to date from the implementation of statutory provisions for tree retention and planting during development
Peter Wittkuhn, Partner, McLeods Barristers & Solicitors
Topic: Not so squeezy: the SAT’s first tree canopy/deep soil area decision-Kemstone Investments Pty Ltd and City of Joondalup

For more information, email Gemma Cook, Environment Policy Officer or email Chris Hossen, Acting Manager Planning, or call on (08) 9213 2056.