Green dreams grow with Urban Forest Fund

17 January 2023

Watch wildflowers bloom on top of tram stops and see desolate concrete transformed into community gardens with support from our Urban Forest Fund grants.

Trees, plants and green open spaces are essential to Melbourne. They help cool the city, reduce pollution, support biodiversity, boost the economy and improve health and wellbeing.

Our Urban Forest Fund accelerates greening across the city. We’ve invested more than $1.7 million across 19 projects since 2017.

This year, we’re supporting five greening projects that will beautify and cool our neighbourhoods, creating 1000 square metres of new green cover.

One of the projects will see drought-tolerant grasses and wildflowers planted on tram-stop shelters. The mini rooftop ecosystems will have a cooling effect and reduce rainwater runoff, air pollution and graffiti.

A city tram stop with green and flowering plants on roof.
Keep an eye out for grasses and wildflowers growing atop four CBD tram-stop shelters
Photo: Realview Studio and Yarra Trams

Neighbours connect in communal garden

On Agnes Street in East Melbourne, an owners’ corporation has converted a large concrete area between two 1970s apartment buildings into a green oasis with native trees and shrubs.

‘It was a barren space bigger than most inner-city house blocks. It was a sun and wind trap, which wasn’t a pleasant experience for anyone,’ said resident Matthew Sacco.

The owners’ group said the greening project had an instant impact on all the senses, creating a welcoming space for residents, their guests and the wider community.

‘The space is now much more attractive and the greenery has already attracted birds and insects, but also residents who now feel like they can pull up a chair or interact with others,’ Matthew said.

‘We can’t wait to see the garden mature, the canopies to shade more of the space, and the flowers to attract more wildlife.

‘We are continuing to explore how we can further contribute to urban greening and tree canopy cover on our property, including future initiatives that support habitat corridors.’

A sparse concrete laneway at the back of an apartment building.
The Agnes Street communal area before the transformation
The rear laneway of a city apartment complex filled with raised garden beds and green plants.
The Agnes Street complex after the transformation

Over in North Melbourne, another group of passionate residents has received an Urban Forest Fund grant to rejuvenate a communal garden at the historic fire station on Curzon Street.

Now a residential apartment building with 12 dwellings, the old fire station has received two rounds of grant funding to create a wildlife-friendly shared garden that boosts biodiversity and canopy cover.

A courtyard of a historical red brick building filled with green grass, shrubs and trees.
Greening in progress at the old fire station

How to turn your place from grey to green

Want to maximise greening opportunities at your place?

Connect with your owners’ corporation, property manager or landlord to advocate for urban greening in communal areas, and explore what the Urban Forest Fund grants can offer.

‘Start small. You don’t need a big open space to green and contribute to urban cooling and biodiversity – every balcony, courtyard, and rooftop counts,’ Matthew said.

‘To get started, give gardening a try by swapping cuttings of plants with friends.’

To learn more about the greening projects we’re supporting, visit Urban Forest Fund.

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