Future proves past: Lessons learned and future innovations for urban trees and greenery

Trees and urban greenery are quietly transforming many Australian cities. A growing understanding of their benefits is fuelling a groundswell of positive change.

Urban greenery is becoming a critical tool in urban, environmental and natural resource planning. Strategically planted trees and other greenery can combat heat islands, improve social inclusion, increase sense of place, enhance property values and more.

This presentation has two parts. First, it reviews discoveries and innovations from the study and use of urban trees and other greenery. It documents key lessons from national and international experience over the past 15 years.

Second, it outlines some future trends, directions and applications for urban trees and greenery.
Topics of discussion include species selection, passively enhancing childhood health and improving older people’s comfort and social experience.

Dr Tony Matthews

Tony is an award-winning Urban and Environmental Planner, with portfolios in academia, practice and the media. He is a faculty member at Griffith University, where he is a member of the School of Environment & Science and the Cities Research Institute.

In addition to a Masters and PhD in Planning, Tony holds the professional designation of Chartered Town Planner, earned through the Royal Town Planning Institute in London. While primarily based in planning academia and research, Tony maintains an active practice portfolio. He has led and participated in a wide variety of planning and sustainability projects in collaboration with government, the private sector and community organisations. Tony is also an in-demand public speaker and regularly delivers invited keynotes and speeches at academic and industry events.

Tony’s research and practice interests include adapting cities to climate change impacts; the role and function of green infrastructure; sustainable and low carbon design; the interplay between built environments and human health; and achieving high quality urban design outcomes. He regularly competes for national and international research funding and has received funding from the Australian Research Council and CSIRO, among others. Tony’s research is widely published in multiple formats and languages, is internationally cited and has proven translation to real-world outcomes.

Tony is also an active public writer and commentator with hundreds of national and international print, radio and television media appearances. He founded of the Urban Broadcast Collective (@urbanpodcasts), a curated network of podcasts dedicated to cities and urban life. Tony also developed and co-presented ‘The Urban Squeeze’ radio program on ABC Radio, which ran for two seasons and won three Awards for Excellence from the Planning Institute of Australia.