Conference paper
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Abstract: The humble nature strip is a characteristic of many, if not, most Australian streetscapes. Nature strips are owned by the local council and generally divide private land from the public vehicular carriageway. Varying in design and appearance, nature strips reflect the character of the local area and its residents, providing spaces for social interaction and gardens of ornamental and edible plants. Nature strips form an important part of residential streetscapes, yet there is limited understanding of their function, nor an appreciation of the important role that they can play in an aesthetic, environmental or social sense. This paper presents research on the role and potential of local nature strips. Focusing on the Sydney metropolitan region, we start by examining the nature strip – its functionality, aesthetics and potential as a public environmental and community resource. Against this background, the varied quality and character of nature strips is investigated. Views of residents regarding the maintenance and management of nature strips are explored. Together with observational field surveys of different local streetscapes and local policy analysis, different options for the maintenance and management of nature strips are presented. The emphasis here is on how the potential of this undervalued and often overlooked public resource can be built upon, thereby enhancing contemporary Australian cities – their appearance, environmental sustainability and health of their communities.

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