Flinders St Station Tram, Melbourne. Photo credit: Tourism Victoria.
Melbourne, Australia is becoming one of the greenest, most sustainable cities.
In the last 15 years, the metropolis has completely reinvented itself. The city of Melbourne is on track to become carbon neutral by the year 2020, and it has done so through bold city planning and an adoption of sustainable living by many citizens, buildings and neighborhoods.
If you want to visit a place where your carbon footprint may be lighter, look for flights to Melbourne on Expedia or Wego. The city is perfect for the green traveler on holiday. From green public transportation options to impressive water management tactics, rest, relax and rejuvenate in a city on the cusp of giving to the Earth more than it is taking. Here is a look at how Melbourne has become one of the most sustainable cities in the world in just over a decade.
The Melbourne Principles
Back in 2002, a planning event was held in Melbourne and sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Attended by experts from many countries, 10 principles for sustainable cities were developed, and Melbourne has worked hard to envision ways to put them into practice. They are:
- Provide a long-term vision based on: sustainability, equality and individuality;
- Achieve economic and social security;
- See, protect and restore the intrinsic value of natural ecosystems and biodiversity;
- Help communities lessen their ecological footprint;
- Build on the specific characteristics within an area’s ecosystem when developing and nurturing a sustainable city;
- See and build upon each city’s unique characteristics, including human, cultural, historical and natural values and systems;
- Empower people, and foster participation by those empowered people;
- Increase and support cooperative networks so that all may work toward a common and sustainable future;
- Promote production and consumption that is sustainable and
- Assist in ongoing improvement with accountability, openness and good governing.
Public transportation is easily and readily available throughout Melbourne, but the city’s efforts to “green” how people get from point A to point B is centred on an extensive and dedicated network of bike lanes, as well as a walking culture. Swanston Street, which is the city’s main street, is closed completely to car traffic so walking and biking is encouraged in the heart of the city.
Urban Forest Strategy
Part of Melbourne’s efforts toward sustainability involves expanding its urban forest and green spaces. The city is working hard to make sure the trees already living in Melbourne are safe and healthy for at least the next two decades. With over 70,000 city council–owned trees valued at over $650 million, protecting the city’s forest is as much a smart financial move as it is a smart environmental one. Because of drought, climate change, urban growth and other threats, the city’s trees need greater protection. Melbourne is seeking to accomplish this through community involvement, forest expansion, soil moisture improvement and greater biodiversity.
Melbourne has been in a considerable drought for over a decade. For that reason, water management has been a primary concern throughout all its sustainability work. Water tanks and storm water harvesting systems have been built throughout the city. In East Melbourne, the city installed the world’s first-ever, in-road storm water harvesting system. The city is encouraging its main buildings to incorporate water-recycling technologies.