Project news: Grants, awards and collaborations

Our researchers and students are collaborating with urban managers and communities to make cities greener and cooler

Green Our Rooftop

A number of GIRG students and academics have been successful in obtaining research grants and postgraduate scholarships as part of the Green Our Rooftop Demonstration Green Roof project. This funding has been made available by the City of Melbourne, Victorian Government (DELWP) and Melbourne Water for high-quality research to support the future growth of green roofs in Melbourne. $5000 PhD top-up scholarships were awarded to Dean Schrieke, Julia Schiller, Zahra Saraeian, Bihan Guo, Rose Macaulay and Lubaina Soni. Dr Claire Farrell, Assoc. Prof. Stephen Livesley, Assoc. Prof. Nick Williams and Assoc. Prof. John Rayner were awarded grants to support work into green roof design and function. Examples of the types of research being undertaken are:

Developing biodiverse, native wildflower meadows for green roofs using direct seeding and seed impregnated, biodegradable mats.
Nicholas Williams, John Rayner, John Delpratt (School of Ecosytem and Forest Sciences (SEFS)) and Dr Meg Hirst from the Royal Botanic Gardens

This project will develop low cost, attractive, native wildflower meadows for green roofs with different solar exposures, that can be direct seeded or rolled out as seed impregnated, biodegradable mats. If successful, this approach will substantially lower the cost of green roofs enabling them to be built on a greater diversity of building types. The project will also determine which indigenous grass and herb species are able to recruit on green roofs, those able to colonise the surrounding landscape and the effect of elevated heat and other microclimatic factors on plant germination, growth and survival.

Keeping our roofs green and our streams clean: optimising plant health and stormwater management on Melbourne’s green roofs
Dr Brandon Winfrey (Monash University), Assoc. Prof. David McCarthy (Monash), Dr Chris Szota (SEFS), Dr Anna Lintern (Monash), Dr Tanveer Adyel (Monash) and Claire Farrell (GIRG).

This project will look at how irrigation can be optimised on green roofs to promote green, healthy vegetation and minimise the effects on stormwater retention and treatment. We will use a network of low-cost sensors measuring substrate water content and other environmental conditions to develop a green roof retention model that integrates water and nutrient balances with irrigation demand that is based on plant water-use. This project will provide guidance on design and optimising an irrigation scheduling system and monitoring to ensure the green roof supports stormwater management guidelines while optimising plant health.

Cooling cities for people and fauna

Assoc. Prof. Stephen Livesley will be involved in the project Quantifying the cooling benefit of Aquarevo irrigation and misting with South-East Water and CRC Water Sensitive Cities which includes additional PhD funds. Stephen will be also be working with Parks Victoria to investigate Microclimate and Flying Fox thermal comfort in ‘irrigated cool refuge’ from heatwaves.

Woody Meadows for public landscapes

Claire Farrell has received ARC Linkage funding for her project Resilient and adaptable urban landscapes: low input woody meadows. The project aims to improve the quality of low maintenance public landscapes and enhance the liveability of our cities. Researchers hope to develop a novel, low-cost and resilient approach to urban greening by utilising Australian shrublands as templates for woody meadows. These woody meadows have considerably more diversity, visual appeal and function than traditional low input public landscapes. Researchers Stefan Arndt, John Rayner (University of Melbourne) and James Hitchmough (University of Sheffield, UK) will join Claire and eight partner organisations to develop resilient, management-friendly woody meadows to enhance and expand urban green spaces in Australia and around the world. The project runs 2020-2024
Partner organisations: City of Greater Dandenong, Hume City Council, Moreland City Council, City West Water, Wyndham City Council, City of Whittlesea, Boroondara City Council, VicRoads.

See the Woody Meadows website