On December 11 2022, at the Banyo Library meeting room, we brought together people from the different groups working together on this project: Kira from Regen Brisbane/Meeanjin, Marcus and Richard from ACF Community Brisbane Northside, Gayle and David from The Shady Lanes Project. along with several members of the Banyo community.
We started the meeting with a question…
What if we could work together to transform the streets of Banyo with council-planted street trees supported by resident-planted native verge gardens, making them cool, walkable, biodiverse, habitat corridors connecting larger green spaces and other destinations? What would that be like? What might it feel like? Whose lives might it change?
… which led to lively conversation. Here are some of the ideas people came up with in a very short time:
- cooler streets
- more biodiversity
- butterflies and pollinators
- more attractive entrance to the suburb to be proud of (especially industrial areas)
- more habitat
- benefits similar to forest bathing
- change peoples attitudes to possums etc
- change the way people drive (it feels like people live here)
- increases community cohesion and pride
- links all ages
- better air quality
- makes the footpaths an important space – not just a nuisance to mow
- encourages you to linger and have conversations
- lots of memories of walking as children – walking to school, always something interesting, learn about nature, increase pride in where you live. Maybe reduce traffic from people driving to schools.
- might increase property prices or at least feel like a nicer place to live
It was just 10 minutes but it engaged our imaginations, and our emotions.
It made us stop and think about what we valued and how our streets have changed over the years and what we missed.
Freedom and adventure for children as they walk in their neighbourhood. Exposure to nature as part of daily life. Connection to community. Pride in the suburb we call home.
No doubt many more thoughts came in the days and nights afterwards, but this was enough to set us towards finding that shared purpose and seeing how transforming the streets could bring us all closer to the future we want.
As this project evolves, especially if we get bogged down when progress seems slow, or we have to evaluate new suggestions and opportunities, we will revisit this exercise and ask:
Where are we going?
What sort of future do we want for our children and grandchildren?
What is our shared purpose for this project?
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