About NatureLink Perth
What is NatureLink Perth?
NatureLink Perth is a ‘community of practice’ of diverse stakeholders, working together to integrate nature into our city, to conserve and enhance our internationally-recognised biodiversity and provide a healthy, liveable city benefiting the economy, the environment and people.
Why do we need NatureLink Perth?
In May 2019, the United Nations reported that 1 million species of plants and animals were under threat of extinction. Much of this biodiversity is concentrated in small areas on the planet (~2.4%). The south west of Western Australia is one such spot. `Biodiversity hotspots’ are where exceptional concentrations of endemic species (plants and animals that occur nowhere else in the world) are undergoing exceptional loss of habitat (>70%). Acting now in biodiversity hotspots will make a huge difference to our city and our planet.
There is currently no holistic strategy or plan to conserve our biodiversity or integrate nature into our city. Perth is one of the most biodiverse areas in the south west WA hotspot (Hopper and Goia, 2004, 2017). We must embrace nature in the city if we are to sustain our unique plants and animals into the future.
The good news is that contact with nature has been scientifically proven to improve people’s physical and mental health and benefit child development – a green city is good for people as well as nature. NatureLink Perth seeks to sustain and integrate nature into our city for the benefit of people, the environment and the economy.
What do we do?
NatureLink Perth seeks to create a network of NatureLinks across Greater Perth joining nodes of high conservation value (bushlands and wetlands). NatureLinks are designed to make the urban landscape more friendly for wildlife and people. Through restoration, creation or enhancement of natural areas and green spaces and through nature-linked urban design we can integrate nature into our city. NatureLinks help people connect to nature by improving greenspace, improving the amenity of walk trails and cycle paths and encouraging community engagement in restoration and wildlife habitat gardens.
NatureLinks promote Healthy People, Healthy Nature and Natural Infrastructure so important to making our city more resilient to climate change.
NatureLink Perth’s role can be summarised in the anagram: LIVE
- Link: Connecting people to people, people to nature, nature to nature
- Inform: Connecting people to factual information they need to nurture a healthy, liveable city connected to nature
- Vision: Providing a practical, on-the-ground vision of Perth, based on an ecological understanding of what is required to preserve our world class biodiversity and provide essential greenspace for people in a growing city.
- Empower: our stakeholders by championing nature linked urban design, greenspace and biodiversity conservation in our city.
Identify opportunities at a strategic level for NatureLinks based on science and agreement across all stakeholders
Facilitate collaboration across the Perth and Peel region to optimize information sharing and outcomes
Build a toolkit of resources and demonstration sites to facilitate best practice
Create and promote new techniques and biodiversity knowledge through partnerships
Increase community awareness, knowledge and engagement in nature
Promote and facilitate NatureLinks through strategic alliances, policy review and governance arrangements
What is Urban Nature?
To retain our biodiversity into the future we need to
Protect and enhance conservation reserves. However, on their own they are insufficient to preserve biodiversity into the future as conservation areas in the city have become increasingly isolated, small and fragmented.
So, we need to: Restore urban nature, enhancing biodiversity in remnant bushlands and wetlands on public and private land, providing places where people can directly engage with nature.
Create natural infrastructure in existing and new urban developments to restore ecological function, optimise ecosystem services and the benefit of nature to people and wildlife.
Bring Nature to People by invigorating our green spaces to provide multiple recreational opportunities and landscape diversity for people in higher density living.
Nature at Home encourages people to incorporate native plants and greenery into their gardens, rooftops and balconies of apartments, homes and schools.
What is ‘Nature-Linked Urban Design’?
Nature-linked urban design respects and integrates the way ecosystems function into urban planning and development. Natural ecosystems require linkages. Nature-linked urban design has wildlife or ecological links in developed areas, linking and sustaining high value conservation areas. These links can be natural areas or nature friendly urban greenspace – parks, road verges, streams and drains, or even your own back yard. If you create a habitat garden these can provide invaluable stepping stones for wildlife traversing the city. These green linkages provide an invaluable place for people too – close proximity and contact with nature improve our wellbeing – just think of walking under a tree shaded path.
Another example of nature-linked urban design is where development is occurs next to natural areas. Nature-linked urban design would ensure the hydrology of the natural area is not affected. Many of our bushlands and wetlands are groundwater dependent ecosystems –even slight changes in their water regime can destroy their ecological balance.
Nature-linked urban design also incorporates ‘biophilic design’. “Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic designed buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements for creating a more productive and healthy built environment for people” (Sageglass.com).
Image: Jahne Rees
What is our scope?
We have five platforms under which we seek information and design our programs.
Where are our natural assets in Perth? What do we know about them and what do they need to be sustained?
What are the critical information gaps in biodiversity and how can we obtain the information needed and collect it innovatively?
How can we better integrate nature into past, current and future development?
What are the challenges in getting approval for nature-linked urban design and how can we improve design regulations to mainstream it?
What facilities, education and community engagement programs should we target to better connect people with nature and sustain biodiversity?
Integrating nature into the city requires careful management. What do we need to know to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people and nature.
Policy and Planning
How can State and Local Governments work together to better integrate biodiversity and greenspace into planning at all levels?
What can you do?
Sign up for our fortnightly newsletter. This will keep you up to date with news, events and new programs.
To become a NatureLink Perth member and receive our weekly updates and resources, enter your email address into the green “sign up” box below.
If you or your organisation have information, reports, knowledge, or activities you would like to share, can see an opportunity to work with us, if you want to be involved in NatureLinkPerth or have question email NatureLinkPerth@murdoch.edu.au
Join us now and nurture a healthy liveable city connected to nature