Street Verge in Transition: A Study of Community Drivers and Local Policy Setting for Urban Greening in Perth, Western Australia
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The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are regarded as the key policy agenda for national, regional, and local government to combat climate change impacts and promote sustainable development. For example, in Perth and Peel metropolitan area, the capital city of Western Australia, there has been a shift of policy setting from that of a sprawling city to a denser city, while maintaining and promoting its ecosystem services and achieving sustainable city goals. Residential verge gardens have been widely adopted in recent years by communities and local governments in the Perth metropolitan area. This study reviews the motivations and drivers for the uptake of verge gardens in metropolitan suburbs and identifies potential policy responses. The City of Bayswater local government area was surveyed for this research. The study considers a mixed-methods approach, including site auditing and a questionnaire survey for local residents who have transformed their verges. A total of 534 verge gardens were audited on residential lots, and 166 valid questionnaire responses were received from residents. The site-audit of the verge gardens in Bayswater found that native vegetation is the dominant verge garden of choice, followed by the ornamental garden, with food production (plants/vegetables) seeming to be the least popular option. Regarding the motivations and drivers, the study has found that social (e.g., aesthetics, flowers, social interactions, and social mimicry), environmental (e.g., attracting wildlife and birds and environmental practice waterwise garden), and personal (easy maintenance) drivers are the primary motivators for residents to adopt verge gardens. Whilst the on-ground surveys were prior to COVID-19, the article includes how this topic could relate to pandemic-resilient urban spaces. As local governments look towards supporting the sustainable outcome goals, the observations of this study will be helpful for developing local government policy and community programs in the promotion and uptake of verge gardens in Australian cities.
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