Urban green spaces

Undergraduate, Masters and Professional development short coursesUrban green spaces can be defined by ecologists, economists, social scientists and planners as ‘public and private open spaces in urban areas, primarily covered by vegetation, which are directly (e.g. active or passive recreation) or indirectly (e.g. positive influence on the urban environment) available for the users’. Urban green space provides many important social and environmental services such as: sport and recreation, mental health and well-being, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, atmospheric pollution filters, improved urban hydrology and water quality and thermal amelioration. To better value, maintain and enhance these urban green spaces we need to be able to quantify the ecosystem services they provide and understand the social and ecological processes involved. Better urban green space design, planning and management is necessary to ensure urban climate change adaptation and to enhance the liveability of Australia’s cities.

At Burnley, we research the social and environmental benefits of urban green spaces across a range of spatial scales. Golf courseWe are interested in the intricate network of green space in residential areas, including front and backyards, nature strips and council managed green infrastructure elements. We are interested in the role and ecological functions provided by neighbourhood parks and recreational green space. Furthermore, the ecosystem services provided by the large urban green spaces such as golf courses, iconic parks and remnant nature reserves. The size, fragmentation and accessibility impacts both human amenity value, faunal biodiversity value and microclimate cooling value, that are all best considered at a landscape scale.

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RESEARCH PROJECTS

TITLE: Ecosystem Services from large urban green spaces
FUNDING: Australian Research Council, The Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, The Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE) (2011 – 2014) 
RESEARCHERS: Dr Steve Livesley, Dr Nick Williams, Prof Nigel Stork, Dr Amy Hahs, Dr Caragh Threlfall, Alessandro Ossola, Jess Mackie, Jarvis Mihsill and Jess Baumann 

OVERVIEW: The objective of this project is to improve the understanding of biodiversity values and carbon storage provided by urban green spaces, and in particular golf courses.  The fauna biodiversity status of birds, native bees, micro-bats and many other insect groups are being assessed in 13 urban golf courses, 13 adjacent residential areas and 12 smaller urban parks in south-east Melbourne……read more

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TITLE: Soil moisture monitoring systems for urban soils    FUNDING: City of Melbourne, Melbourne Water (2013-2014) RESEARCHERS: Stephen Livesley, Tim Fletcher and Chris Szota

OVERVIEW: Determining the accuracy and calibration of soil moisture monitoring systems for use in WSUD substrates and green spaces to quantify and improve urban stormwater interventions…..read more

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