Redesign Our Cities

I just saw Urban Reforestation’s Reshape, Redesign, Recreate Campaign.

It sounds like a fantastic idea. Looking at spaces in the Melbourne CBD and rethinking them into things that promote community and environment.

Their first space is MacArthur Square, just down the road from where I used to live.

carlton streets 2

I read a book there once. I also had a picnic there once.

I lived two blocks away and visited twice in two years.

The first comment on the page is one by Ralph that asks “Why not just leave that space as it is? Play a game of footy every now and then with it, and she’ll be right” reflects a common attitude that really irritates me.

Just because something is ok/chugging along/not causing a problem. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look at ways to improve it.

It is complacent and lazy and we shouldn’t wait until somewhere goes from “mediocre” to “dismal” before we improve it.

I have been wanting the median strips on Canning, Station and Drummond streets turned into food forests for the longest time.

I went to the Melbourne City Council in 2009 to talk about it.

I was met with a slightly surprised man who said that, of course, I could apply to the council.

He said though that he didn’t think I had much chance of getting the idea through.


He said that I would:

  1. Have to get the surrounding neighbours approval (This I thought I might be able to manage.)
  2. They would have problems with the safety of the maintenance staff who did the mowing (I thought I’d be able to get around this by planting it and therefore not having any need for the mowing.)
  3. They would argue that my plants would be competition for the trees, particularly when there’s so little water  (I gritted my teeth and thought that maybe the person who I applied to may have studied basic ecology and wouldn’t be so stupid.)
  4. They would probably pull out the uniformity card.



Oh. Yes. The argument that the city spaces are all meant to look the same so I can’t plant all these strange plants and therefore eucalyptus trees, dirt and patches of grass are all that are allowed.

I would LOVE a food forest to be planted wherever possible.

Yes, leave spaces for the picnickers and the ball games, but, if we have the space to be more self sufficient, more prosperous, healthier.

If we have the chance to interact more with our neighbours, become more local…

I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce Pam Warhurst who did a fantastic talk ages ago about the profits of Food Tourism.

pam warhurst

We should plant everywhere possible. For our physical and mental health.

And because it can be a money maker.\

Why say “she’ll be right” when she could be awesome?

seattle food forest planned


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