News July 4


A Green Factor Tool for Enhanced Greening in Melbourne’s Urban Areas.

As cities increase in size and density, the ecosystem services supplied by urban greenery and green infrastructure are increasingly vital for sustainable, liveable urban areas. However, retaining and maximising urban greenery in densifying cities is challenging. Judy Bush assisted in the development of the City of Melbourne’s Green Factor Tool – a way of assessing the green infrastructure merits of building development applications in the private realm. This new paper looks at the process and contribution of transdisciplinary experts and local research into the design of the tool, and the role of urban planning in retaining and maximizing urban green spaces.

Bush J, Ashley G, Foster B and Hall G (2021) Integrating Green Infrastructure into Urban Planning: Developing Melbourne’s Green Factor Tool. Urban Planning 6(1): 20–31

Estimates from 100 global cities shows the cooling potential or irrigating green spaces

PhD candidate Paul Cheung, A/Prof. Steve Livesley and Dr Kerry Nice have investigated the potential of irrigating urban green spaces to mitigate heat stress in cities. They used a systematic literature review combined with empirical modelling to determine the cooling potential of irrigating green spaces in 100 global cities with arid, temperate or continental climates. They found most of the cities (91 out of 100) will receive a cooling benefit from irrigation with the greatest cooling potential in arid cities.

Cheung PK, Livesley SJ and Nice KA (2021) Estimating the cooling potential of irrigating green spaces in 100 global cities with arid, temperate or continental climates.  Sustainable Cities and Society 71:102974


The right way to use old coffee in your garden

Horticulturalist and Burnley alumni Sara Hardgrove is featured in this ABC Everyday article where she discusses the downside of using raw coffee grounds directly on plants. Sara explains that composting is key to transforming coffee grounds into a beneficial soil conditioner.

See the original research paper Hardgrove S and Livesley S (2016) Applying spent coffee grounds directly to urban agriculture soils greatly reduces plant growth. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 18


Direct seeding of green roofs shows potential for biodiversity, aesthetic and cost benefits

PhD candidate Zahra Saraeian is investigating a novel approach to establishing green roof vegetation – the direct seeding of Australian annual flowering plants for biodiversity and the aesthetic value of their colourful flowers. Establishing an annual plant palette by sowing seeds allows a large area to be covered with little labour, reducing costs considerably. These plant communities also have the potential to be self-sustaining through recruitment. Zahra’s aim is to develop an attractive, resilient plant palette of Australian annual species suitable for green roofs in Mediterranean-like climates.

We also welcome Honours student Surui Ye who will soon be joining the project and will focus on additional elements of direct seeding of green roofs.

Zahra’s project is funded by Hort Innovation through their Green Cities Fund as part of the project Researching the benefits of demonstration green roofs across Australia and is supervised by Prof. Nick Williams and Dr Claire Farrell.

Green roof module with flowering plants
Experimental green roof modules nine months after sowing seeds. Direct seeding of Australian annuals is a cost-effective alternative to ‘succulent’ dominant palettes typical of northern hemisphere green roofs.
Honours student Surui Ye photo
Honours student Surui Ye is set to join the green roof direct seeding project supervised by Nick Williams.





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