Green is go for prosperity
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.