Meeting overview – Verge Gardens and active transport – How they work together

On 12 February 2023, we held our third community meeting at the Banyo Library meeting room.

It was incredibly exciting to see new faces of the community joining our sessions.  With our core group of residents really leading the way with their local knowledge and wisdom.  Some residents have been living in Banyo since they were born which is one reason why they are so passionate about their local community.  We are so grateful for their guidance and commitment to the project.

Starting off the meeting, Gayle from the Shady Lanes Project spoke about who the stakeholders are when it comes to active transport in relation to verge gardens. The group discussed how different stakeholders have different reasons for becoming involved in a project.  An important part of being collaborative is making sure that all parties and participants feel comfortable working with you.  This is important as it creates long standing and sustaining working relationships.

Here is a rough diagram we used to show who is in this space.

Download image to see slide showing some of the people involved in this space

All of these people have opinions about what our streetscapes should look like and how the space should be used. Almost all would agree we need more street trees for shade and many are trying to make it happen.

Each will approach the issue from a different perspective depending on their professions, training, and background, and they have different priorities or reasons for greening the streets. Their goals might be complementary.

So who’s here?

  • The professionals who work in urban planning, landscape architecture, transport, community development, urban forests and environment. They will want street trees for many reasons: to tackle urban heat, moderate rainwater runoff, encourage people to walk instead of drive, and so on.
  • The advocacy organisations who see shaded streets and walkability and active transport as an equity issue.
  • Health-related organisations who see shade and walkability as needed for individual health (active lifestyle, protection from sun and heat) and socio-economic reasons to reduce costs to the health care system by preventing diseases caused by the sedentary lifestyles in car-dependent cities and urban heat islands.
  • Education – from connection to nature to walking to school for the educational, social and health benefits as well as reducing traffic.
  • On the right, there are the urban food enthusiasts and guerrilla gardeners, many of whom are encouraging food growing on verges.
  • The advocates for pollinator and habitat corridors are a mixed bag between planting whatever you like and planting native plants and ecosystems.
  • Environmentalists are even more mixed and are extremely diverse.

The middle circle is the residents. These are the people who walk, drive, mow or plant, and who may welcome or refuse a street tree in front of their home. Most importantly, these are the people who vote. While we all might fit into one or more of the other groups, we are all in this group, although perhaps in a minority.

So all of these people, with all their diverse worldviews, priorities, and emotions come crashing together in this space.

That means lots of potential for conflict, and conversely lots of opportunity for change-making.

You can check out the Slideshow presentation here

Stakeholders for your verge would be the people affected in some way, or who have an opinion about the space.  All these stakeholders are important to consider when designing or redesigning your verge.

Following Council Verge Garden Policy can prevent someone from making a complaint and it can also ensure you are protected if someone complains.

Marcus from ACF Community Group Brisbane Northside spoke about the pros and cons of Guerilla Gardening and why our project does not prescribe to that form of gardening.

Kira from Regen Brisbane gave a brief update on the progress of the project and the group considered new feature verges that would be in good view for the wider Banyo community to see.

Also at our discussions, a frequent question is what you plant under an established tree.  You don’t want to disturb the roots or build up and deprive roots of oxygen.  Being the verge, you also don’t want high nutrients or mulch washing into the stormwater.   Gayle from the Shady Lanes Project suggests it must be a native plant, preferably local native, low growing up to 50cm groundcover.  The environment would be shady and probably fairly dry because of the tree.  Some suggestions maybe scaevola, birds nest fern, native violet, dianella.

Looking forward to seeing you all at our next meeting.  Check out our events page for the next events coming up soon.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *