Principle 5: Green and resilient

Public space connects us to nature, enhances biodiversity and builds climate resilience into communities.

Public space connects ecological systems and networks of green space, waterways, bushland and wildlife. These are places where animals seek food and refuge, and where native trees and vegetation should be prioritised, given their suitability to the Australian climate and soil conditions.

Aboriginal knowledge and land management practices support the health and wellbeing of Country – expanding these practices into public space can make them the perfect places to educate others about caring for Country to support biodiversity and broader ecosystems.

Green infrastructure - the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems that supports sustainable communities – is essential to public space. This includes waterways, bushland, tree canopy and green ground cover that provide relief from urban heat, improve air and water quality and increase natural shade. Green infrastructure makes places nicer and quieter to walk around, while capturing carbon and reducing the likelihood of flooding and sewage overflow.

Public spaces can be essential to climate resilience, not least as fire breaks between buildings and natural areas, or to help mitigate flooding. They might also include community facilities that can – if needed – become places where people can take shelter in the time of crisis and disaster.

This is an edited version of the charter. For the full text, please download: NSW Public Spaces Charter (PDF, 3.34 MB).