Green is go for pros­per­ity

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - AMANDA DUCKER

TAS­MA­NIA’S fu­ture pros­per­ity lies in em­brac­ing a green econ­omy, says a lo­cal ur­ban de­sign ex­pert.

Land­scape ar­chi­tect Jerry de Gryse of In­spir­ing Places says it is time to pin our colours to the mast.

Orig­i­nally from Detroit, Mr de Gryse has lived in Ho­bart for 40 years. He says Tas­ma­nia is at a cross­roads amid a surge of eco­nomic growth and in­vest­ment.

“We have been very lucky at this point that our econ­omy hasn’t over­run the en­tire place,” he said.

Whereas lack­lus­tre eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity had in­ad­ver­tently pro­tected some nat­u­ral and built as­sets, they were now more ex­posed.

“Now we have to the chal­lenge to pur­posely main­tain them as they are by con­sciously em­brac­ing a green econ­omy,” he said.

A green econ­omy is an al­ter­na­tive model to a growth and con­sump­tion model. In a green econ­omy, the aim is to achieve sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment with­out de­grad­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

In his work, which ranges from pol­icy-level strate­gic ad­vice to the state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments to de­sign­ing land­scapes, Mr de Gryse’s fo­cus is of­ten the places where nat­u­ral and built en­vi­ron­ments meet.

He sees their in­te­gra­tion as an in­trin­sic part of eco­log­i­cal eco­nomics.

When his team wrote the City of Ho­bart street tree strat­egy five years ago, it stim­u­lated a canopy goal of 40 cent by 2040.

While it would be hard to put a dol­lar amount on its value, such ini­tia­tives aligned with green econ­omy val­ues.

“It makes the city more live­able,” he said.

“If we want to at­tract more young peo­ple to live here, we need a beau­ti­ful city with good pub­lic trans­port and great ac­cess to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

“It’s not a di­rect dol­lar-for­dol­lar kind of econ­omy, but it’s a ben­e­fi­cial econ­omy.

“There are all sorts of sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fits that add up to why you’d want to have more trees and more green in your city.”

Per­haps, he sug­gests, it is time to re­de­fine pros­per­ity to in­clude a host of non-GDP mea­sures.

“We need to keep the best of what we have, re­pair what we’ve dam­aged and build a beau­ti­ful re­silient city wor­thy of the land­scape we’ve in­her­ited,” he said.

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