Victoria Park has been recognized as a Tree City alongside cities like New York, Paris, and Milan for its efforts in maintaining urban trees.
The Town of Victoria Park was named the first Tree City of the World in Western Australia in 2021. The honor was given by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Arbor Day Foundation.
However, earning this achievement was not a simple task. In this article, we will go through the overview of the city, how they achieve the title and its urban forest strategy.
An Overview of the Town of Victoria Park
|Did You Know? The location of Victoria Park is outside of Portsmouth’s two historic centers: the old town and the navy dockyard. As a result, there exists some of the city’s oldest and unoccupied land within Victoria Park.|
The Town of Victoria Park is a thriving and varied urban neighborhood located on the south bank of the Swan River, about 10 minutes from Perth’s central business district. The town is centered on the bustling Albany Highway, which is known for its diverse culinary offerings, lively café strip, and unusual retail boutiques.
Its recorded history extends back to pre-European colonization. Non-Indigenous people began to settle in the region around 1829, and the first land concessions were made. Founded in 1894, it was merged into the City of Perth in 1917.
The Town was temporarily titled the Town of Shepperton after the City of Perth’s boundaries were lowered. However, popular opinion was against the name. Therefore, the Town of Victoria Park was declared a separate municipality on 1 July 1994.
Media’s Statement on Town of Victoria Park’s Tree City Status
On March 1, 2021, the Town of Victoria Park attained the title of Tree City of the World.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the Arbor Day Foundation commended the event. They congratulate the Town on becoming the first city or town in West Australia to be designated as a Tree City.
As mentioned in our previous tree city spotlight, the Tree Cities of the World program is a global effort to recognize cities and towns. These municipalities were picked for their effort in maintaining urban forests, keeping them well-maintained, sustainably managed, and appropriately acknowledged.
The Tree Cities of the World award is very appreciated, according to Town of Victoria Park Mayor Karen Vernon, and it reflects well on the success of the Town’s unique community-led Urban Forest Strategy and its collaborative execution.
“Trees and urban forests are an important part of healthy, livable, and sustainable cities and towns, and Tree Cities of the World recognizes this.”
The Town of Victoria Park’s dedication to good urban forest management is ensuring a brighter future for its citizens.
Why Town of Victoria Park Was Recognized
It was made possible thanks to the Town’s Urban Forest Strategy. It is an immense effort of the city’s administration, as well as many other individuals.
“The Town’s Urban Forest Strategy has been advising all of us – staff and Elected Members, as well as residents and the wider local community – on how we can establish a healthy and vibrant urban ecosystem here at Vic Park,” Mayor Vernon stated.
“As a consequence, our efforts in Greening Vic Park have received continuing growth and support year after year.”
“This was obvious when the Town nearly quadrupled the number of trees planted in 2020 compared to the previous year, increased its expected canopy cover by 40,000 m2 in the 2020 planting season, and witnessed record participation in initiatives like Urban Forest at Home.”
Many important individuals have participated in the Town’s Urban Forest program. Their collective dedication to making our Town a better, happier, and greener place to live has allowed us to achieve this international distinction.
Being able to satisfy the Tree Cities of the World program’s recognition requirements is an excellent acknowledgment and a promising indicator for the Town’s future.
Only 120 cities in 63 countries have met the Tree Cities of the World program’s five fundamental requirements, which include:
- Establishing responsibility
- Enacting green policies
- Developing a long-term care plan
- Committing resources
- Raising awareness about trees
However, the town’s administration’s main goal was not to become a tree city. In fact, it was to push the urban forest strategy to the next level. Their aim is to make the city the main thrive to encourage the development of urban trees throughout the world.
Town of Victoria Park’s Urban Forest Strategy
What is an urban forest?
The complete vegetation inside a specific metropolitan region, including trees, plants, grasses, and the habitat in which they develop, is referred to as an “urban forest.”
On both public and private property, it includes street verges, private gardens, streams, parks, forests, community gardens, sumps, and other vegetated areas.
The most effective at supplying ecosystem services are large mature canopy trees. The more ecological services a tree offers, and the greater its effect on the surrounding environment, including animals, the larger it becomes.
How do they do it?
The Town of Victoria Park had a canopy cover of 10% of land area in 2016, which was one of the lowest in Perth and far less than what is needed for a healthy urban environment.
Canopy trees are at least 5 meters tall and provide at least 7 square meters of shade. To go from their existing 10% tree canopy to the Council’s 20% target, they’ll need an extra 1.8 million m2 of canopy coverage or at least 256,000 more trees than we have now.
While the Urban Forest Strategy (UFS) acknowledges that the tree canopy cannot be doubled by 2020, they find that enough trees can be protected and planted by that date to meet the aim in the future.
The UFS is founded on the following tenets:
- Community-centered and collaborative (ABCD);
- Novelty, experimentation, and validation;
- Efficient and cost-effective.
Following are the strategic outcomes (1 to 5) of the UFS:
- Increase tree diversity, with a preference for local endemic and West Australian species that also support wildlife;
- Maintain high standards of vegetation health;
- Improve soil and water quality; and
- Improve urban ecosystems by planting and protecting enough trees by 2020 to meet Council’s 20% tree canopy target;
- Maximize community involvement and collaboration in its implementation;
The Town’s role in the UFS is threefold:
- providing guidance, resources, support, and incentives for the community and all stakeholders to collaborate in implementing the UFS throughout the Town;
- educating and promoting the UFS to the community; and
- actively planning, budgeting for, and collaboratively managing the UFS on public and private land.
The town of Victoria Park has made an incredible achievement through the conversation and management of its urban trees. More importantly, the urban forest strategy has further pushed their reforestation progress to the next level. Hope that other cities worldwide will take Victoria Park and other Tree cities as the role model and try their best in urban tree management.