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Greening and “un”greening Adelaide, South Australia

1 Centre for Rural Health & Community Development, University of South Australia, 3 Sunningdale Court, Balhannah, South Australia 5242, Australia;
2 School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, No. 388 Lumo Road, Wuhan, Hubei 430074, PR China

Special Issues: Urban Greening for Low Carbon Cities

The original design for Adelaide, the capital city of the state of South Australia, incorporated a green belt (known as the Park Lands) around the city centre, itself laid out on a one square mile (2.59 km2) grid and including five large public squares. The Park Lands provided a barrier to urban sprawl and covered approximately 9.31 km2, of which 1.53 km2 has been used subsequently for cultural institutions, railways, cemeteries, sporting facilities and other constructions. In addressing issues of greening pertaining to Adelaide, the Park Lands and its management represents a core element in the evolving history of the city's growth. This paper will consider some of the contradictions within this growth, examining the changing attitudes of government and the populace to the Park Lands and also to the increasing sprawl of the city. It can be argued that this sprawl has been antithetical to maintenance of biodiversity and principles of “greening”, not only during the main phase of expansion in the 1960s and 1970s but also in recent years when planned development on prime farmland and other “green” areas is contributing to problems for provision of transport infrastructure and generally reducing capacity for sustainability. The potential for conflict between the desire to maintain biodiversity versus protection for the growing number of people moving into bushfire risk areas is just one of several examples of problems arising as a result of a relaxed attitude to low-density expansion. In examining these problems the paper will present maps of the changing footprint of Adelaide and will elaborate new “greening” initiatives that include green roofs, new systems of water harvesting, community-supported agriculture and schemes directly aimed at creating low-carbon living. A consistent theme will be the contradictions within plans for the city between greening and “un”greening.
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