Opportunities for Geelong's urban forest

Geelong’s trees are a valuable community asset, transcending the boundaries of land ownership to provide benefits for all.

Adding value to our city

"Geelong’s trees are a valuable community asset, transcending the boundaries of land ownership to provide benefits for all."

They have the capacity to redefine Geelong’s identity into a green, liveable, attractive and innovative city. They also build the ecological platform of resilience, adaptation and mitigation against urban heat island effects and climate change.

With this in mind, Geelong’s trees are for the future and accordingly must be planned for now. An enormous opportunity now exists for Geelong to plan for its future through the delivery of a robust, dynamic, climate suited and strategically planted urban forest.


1. Vacant planting sites

Images: 1. A streetscape in Whittington as it currently looks. 2. The same streetscape with its vacant sites planted out.

Images: 1. A streetscape in Whittington as it currently looks. 2. The same streetscape with its vacant sites planted out.

There are an estimated 45,000 vacant tree planting sites within streets across Geelong, that is: sites that have the potential to house a street tree yet currently don’t. This represents a tremendous opportunity to achieve our vision of a cool, green city simply by investing in an infill program over the next decade.

Even an additional 500 advanced street trees planted per year using appropriate species that provide the maximum canopy cover suitable for each site can improve Geelong’s canopy cover significantly.

Added to this are the potential for increased tree planting in existing open space and conservation reserves.


Priority tree planting areas

The City has an extensive understanding of the existing landscape for trees. By overlaying information sets on certain parameters, priority areas have been identified for investment in street tree planting which will make a significant impact to environmental, social and economic outcomes.


1. Hotspot mapping

Figure 8: Satellite thermal imagery of Geelong and associated hotspots.

Geelong hotspots

Geelong hotspots - Satellite thermal imagery of Geelong and associated hotspots.

Heat mapping of the municipality using Satellite thermal imagery reveals certain areas of Geelong that heat up more quickly during periods of hot weather which are then likely to retain that heat well into the night.

Surface types, topography, proximity to the bay and urban density are some of the contributing factors to the retention of surface heat as is low levels of tree canopy cover and open green space.

The image was captured at 10:30am on a 36 degree day. The CBD has not yet had a chance to warm up and the surrounding suburbs remain warmer, probably due to a lack of sea breeze.

Hotspot areas of Geelong include the northern industrial zone, Norlane and Corio, Whittington and Bell Park.

Whilst a more detailed land surface analysis is needed to determine the exact causes of the heat retention and the limitations of the satellite thermal image, the City can prioritise these warmer areas for increased canopy cover.

Thermal image value

Thermal image value: High is red (30<sup>o</C) grading down to low is blue (15<sup>o</C). Hotspots are bordered in red.


2A. Social Vulnerability

Figure 9: Areas of social vulnerability across the north of urban Geelong.

Social vulnerability across Geelong

Areas of social vulnerability across the north of urban Geelong

Certain demographics within Geelong’s community are more vulnerable to this heat retention than others, particularly during heatwaves.

The more vulnerable community members are young children, older lone households, low socio-economic households (measured by SEIFA index) and those with English not spoken at home.

When mapped alongside the thermal hotspots in Geelong, priority areas in Corio, Norlane and Whittington are revealed. These three suburbs have in total around 7,500 vacant tree planting sites in nature strips.

Streets and parks surrounding schools, playgrounds, hospitals and aged care facilities are also areas where tree planting will be prioritised.

Symbols legend for map to the left

Thermal image value

Thermal image value: High is red (30<sup>o</C) grading down to low is blue (15<sup>o</C). Hotspots are bordered in red.


Priority tree planting areas


2B. Social vulnerability

Figure 10: Location of schools and aged care mapped against the heat map and street tree distribution in Whittington, one of Geelong’s hotspots.

Social vulnerability Whittington

Location of schools and aged care mapped against the heat map and street tree distribution in Whittington, one of Geelong’s hotspots. Image includes thermal image value and legend of symbols

3A. Low canopy cover and low useful life expectancy (Highton)

Highton tree useful life expectancy

Figure 11: Tree distribution across Highton where there is a higher concentration of trees that will need to be removed within a 10 year period (red dots). Highton will be targeted for a tree renewal program.

 Areas of social vulnerability across the north of urban Geelong
Click to Enlarge Image


Legend for map to the right: identifying 10-20 years, 5-10 years, 20+ years and <5 years

 

Areas that display low levels of canopy cover or a higher percentage of trees with a low useful life expectancy will be targeted for a renewal program, replacing unsuitable species with those that are best suited to each site to minimise conflicts with infrastructure, provide multiple benefits and appropriate canopy cover into the future.

 

Priority tree planting areas


3B. Low canopy cover and low useful life expectancy (Whittington)

Figure 11: Tree distribution across Whittington where there is a higher concentration of trees that will need to be removed within a 10 year period (red dots). Whittington will be targeted for a tree renewal program.

Whittington tree useful life expectancy

Whittington tree useful life expectancy - image includes legend (same as above map)


4. Prioritised tree planting opportunities

Image demonstrating the 12 points listed below

Other areas to be prioritised for tree planting opportunities are:

  1. Creation of boulevards
  2. Industrial areas
  3. Bike paths
  4. Gateways to Geelong
  5. Linear open space corridors
  6. Waterways
  7. Commercial and Retail Zones
  8. Central Geelong
  9. The Greenway: Ted Wilson bike trail
  10. Urban orchards
  11. Open space and conservation reserves
  12. All new capital works projects in existing open space
Areas of social vulnerability across the north of urban Geelong

An artist’s impression of the Greenway.
Areas of social vulnerability across the north of urban Geelong

Current state of the Greenway.




Page last updated: Thursday, 18 July 2019

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