Living Melbourne aims to create a profound shift in the way we think about, build, grow and value Melbourne. Until recently, cities have existed in conflict with nature. Increasingly, around the world, people understand that the success and long-term viability of cities depend on them being able to live alongside nature. This is neatly expressed in Melbourne through the concept of our urban forest.
The urban forest cleans our air and water, reduces damaging heat in our neighbourhoods, and provides valuable habitat for flora and fauna. Exposure to nature reduces stress and the incidence of mental illness, and it provides opportunities to strengthen community bonds by providing spaces where people can congregate and recreate.
The 21st century will be remembered as the urban century, the century with the most significant urban growth ever witnessed. This is not news for Melbourne. With a population of eight million people projected for 2051, we will soon be the largest city in one of the most urbanised nations on the planet. Given the difficulties that we will face in the urban century, it is crucial that we create and nurture our urban forest.