Greening the Greyfields

Creating a sustainable built environment is a challenge for many local councils, city planners, developers and builders. Some of Australia and New Zealand’s middle suburbs are planning a different future that is rich in growth and regeneration in a strategically sustainable manner. Having the tools to develop and integrate a solution across suburbs will be key to future sustainable planning. Our Greening the Greyfields research is providing these tools, as well as working on the ground to shift the culture with homeowners and local government.

The project set out to create a new way of developing cities, so these cities could sustainably house significant population increases. So, what is a “Greyfield”? It refers to the middle suburbs of Australian cities; places where the housing stock is ageing and being replaced by newer, more intensive housing developments, that have better sustainability performance.  The project has developed an online stable, simple and useful suite of precinct scale urban planning tools. The tools apply spatial information to urban planning decision-making related to the redevelopment of these greyfields, for improved economic, social and environmental outcomes.

FrontierSI led the research, development and utilisation project in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Swinburne University, the University of Canterbury, Maroondah City Council, Knox City Council, Blacktown City Council and the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL). Our ability to connect the right people and our position in the industry has allowed us to provide impartial advice, on the ground with a diverse range of stakeholders and emerging partners.

The utilisation project developed a business plan, two case studies in Maroondah City Council, an approved framework, geographic expansion into the Cities of Knox and Blacktown, updated IP, inclusion in Plan Melbourne 2017 State policy, inclusion in Maroondah housing strategy 2017 Municipal policy and additional funding from the CRCLCL. A grant from the federally funded Smart Cities and Suburbs program is currently being used to implement the program in legislation in Maroondah, enabling collaboration between property owners and encouraging better forms of development.

The outcomes of this project include reduced development costs and more sustainable neighbourhoods by building trust, reducing conflict and increasing incentives for co-design between community groups, local governments, state agencies and property developers. You can find out more about the Greening the Greyfields software tools at the Greyfieldplanning website.