Where is the closest green space to where you live? Or where you work? Can you walk there, easily?
What if there was a green space less then 400 metres from where you lived? As well as one 400 metres from where you worked? For the kids to play, or for you to stretch your legs and enjoy lunch outside during your workday. Shade provided by tree cover, not concrete structures. In your community. In every community.
Wouldn’t that be pretty amazing?
Welcome to the Greening Fremantle Strategy 2020.
The Greening Strategy is as simple as it is ambitious, for all of the City of Fremantle:
- Green space 400 metres from every residence or place of business
- 20% tree cover canopy
- Providing nature play
- Environmentally suitable high-quality landscaping
- Supports biodiversity
- Water sensitive design
- Adaptable to climate change
Full details of the Greening Strategy can be found here.
As a parent of two young children, I find this plan particularly appealing. I think it would be safe to say that many of us today are not living in the large family homes with big yards or gardens that were more common when we were young. Instead, we might have a courtyard, small outdoor space, porch, or balcony. Families no longer necessarily have their own space to spend time together outside. And although there are plenty of big parks with elaborate play equipment or outdoor recreations spaces, they are not always in proximity to where we live or work.
And if your three-year-old is anything like mine, that just doesn’t cut it. The kids are running wild and the house is a constant mess. You need to get everyone out and burning off some of that excess energy! But for some of us, on some of those days, the prospect of loading up the car and driving to a busy playground is less than appealing. The idea that there could be somewhere to easily walk to, regardless of the number of children, fitness level, or weather. With natural shade, of course, an essential for those hot summer days.
The community green spaces take many forms. Some are existing community parks or playgrounds that getting a bit of a facelift. Others are new; areas previously used for another function, or not used at all.
We decided to head out and take a look at some of these community green spaces.
The newest green-space is Hilton Pocket Park. Completed just a week before Christmas, the local community and Council staff planted the gardens together. This is just a small green space at the very end of Clarke Street in Hilton, but the lovely gardens begin to line the street before the green space begins, creating a picturesque walkway to the busier Hines Road on the other side. If you haven’t been to the area before, this green space might not jump out at you as a significant change. If this is the case, I urge you to take a quick look at Google satellite images; you will see the upgrade is nothing sort of incredible.
Gold Park in South Fremantle was our next stop on the pocket park tour. Gold Park is the next most recently completed, the result of a major community effort. In addition to helping to build it, the community also donated material to create the unique space. This much-loved area resides at the end of Francisco Street. In addition to a lovely green space and swings, it also hosts an outdoor chess board.
Our final two stops on our pocket park tour took us to White Gum Valley. The two we visited were not so much pocket parks as they were unique community green spaces.
Davies Reserve hosts a swing set, small climbing area, and an excellent open space to run and kick around a ball. The reserve is shaded by the ‘Christmas Trees’ (according to my three-year-old) making it accessible for play on a summers day.
Next up was the gem of our day, Valley Park in White Gum Valley. This park does not have an accurate Google link attached to it, and I am almost hesitant to share this as it is not really designed to be driven to. There is no real parking, so it is an ideal destination for local residents to walk to. The entire park has a magical feel to it. There is no traditional equipment – even the swing set is circular. There is a covered sandpit, ‘troll bridge’, and suspended walking path. This space was an absolute child’s delight, and we could have happily spent a lot longer there than we did.
Quick note for adults – the tire swing, if you happen to be on it with two children, will in fact tip over! My only regret is that there was no one there to witness me hanging upside down with my one-year-old and three-year-old. It must have been hilarious!
We had a lovely day visiting several new green-spaces and local parks, essentially living out my son’s dream of ‘more parks’! For me, it brought to light the interesting issues facing families today in Fremantle and surrounding areas. Living in the metropolitan area, we are all now facing the reality that large plots of available land for single families are becoming a thing of the past. Partially due to cost. But more importantly, because of the impact we have caused with our vast and extensive urban sprawl. We are so spread out, traffic is becoming unmanageable. However, our lack of density makes efficient and affordable public transport impossible. Being so spaced out, infrastructure is more difficult to maintain, and more expensive.
Moving forward into the future we are going to need an alternative to privately owned greenspaces (also knows as single lots with large gardens).
What is the answer? You have probably guessed it from reading this article. Public green spaces, and lots of them. 400 metres from your home and work. Bringing community together.
Who’s keen to get involved with the next green space in your community?