In order to meet with true success, today’s urban green strategies must enlist the aid of the residents living in their focus cities—this according to a study conducted by 202020 Vision, a national initiative including more than 400 organisations collaborating to increase urban green spaces ‘by 20 percent by 2020’.

Through this study and through a related Australian urban forestry roadshow tour, 202020 Vision wants to enlist an advanced level of community engagement by eliminating barriers to communication, and establishing enhanced community awareness, more involvement from the people, and successful council-driven urban greening strategies.

The Growing Together roadshow tour revolves around a comprehensive community engagement kit, revolving around a 10-step guide intended to result in significant collaboration and change, as well as an adjoining campaign that can be used on the Internet and in life. This multimedia kit consists of signs, posters, and artwork, as well as various advertising tools.

The 202020 Vision research paper ‘Who’s with us?’, polled more than 1600 Australians regarding the subject of green space. More than 90 percent of respondents supported the concept of urban greening; only just over 70 percent did not know as to whether or not their local councils were planning urban green space expansion in their region. Plus, more than 50 percent did not know who maintained their green spaces.

Roughly half of these respondents were not willing or able to maintain these urban green spaces themselves, or to lobby local governments to increase the amount of greenspace in their communities.

It was surmised through these results that a disconnect exists between councils and communities, although both want the visual, recreational, and mental and physical health benefits of green living.

Councils must directly address and engage community residents on the subject of urban green space. And they also must communicate more extensively with land developers, linking them to the residents as well.

Above all, they must offer enjoyable and accessible ways for citizens to get involved, such as the City of Brisbane’s tree giveaway program, Waverley Council’s Living Connections Initiative, and The City of Vincent’s adopt-a-tree program. Get people involved, for the greater—and greener—good!