Green Rings, Green Lattices and Green Belts are urban planning tools to bring green space, habitat and valuable car-free environments into the inner city and urban areas. The Sydney Green Ring is a 37 Km approx., circuit around the Inner Sydney region. The circuit links Sydney’s original water sources to green space, arts, recreational and educational precincts.

Psychogeography is the mapping of actual usage of space and place by the process of the ‘derive‘ or drift. The Sydney Green Ring was discerned through a process of drifting by bicycle in search of scenic vistas; linking the contemporary urban landscape with its colonial representations and the roots of the European landscape tradition

There are a myriad of reasons for combining active transport and green, riparian corridors. The benefits to health and sense of place and belonging have been well researched and documented.

We are living upon land with tens of thousands of years of cultural survival as proof of concept. Sustainability comes from a close association with and observation of the land.

The potential for green transportation and habitat corridors in Sydney from Petra Crawshaw, UNSW, The Future of Greenways in Sydney, 2009 (pdf).

“Few of these embryonic greenways in Australia have had an holistic, multidisciplinary corridor and catchment-based approach and there has been a lack of strategic planning in provision of explicit ‘greenway’ projects. However, there have been some examples in Australia of greenway-type corridor projects where there has been an holistic approach, such as the Great Kai’mia Way and Green Ring in Sydney and the Merri Creek Trail in Melbourne.” [1]

The Sydney Green Ring developed independently of, but using many of the same resources as, the Sydney Green Grid, a project of the NSW Government Architects Office. Barbara Schaffer the Landscape Architect in charge of the Sydney Green Grid states:

“…The Sydney Green Grid is a green infrastructure, design-led strategy that includes the full range of open spaces: national, regional and local parks; the harbour, ocean beaches, wetlands, rivers and creeks; playgrounds, playing fields, golf courses and cemeteries. Furthermore, interconnected linkages are fostered within the wider public realm through enhancing creek corridors, transport routes, suburban streets, footpaths and cycleways. The Sydney Green Grid is therefore an open-space interconnecting network that will keep the city cool, encourage healthy lifestyles, enhance biodiversity and ensure ecological resilience…

The awareness of landscape as both a vital resource needing protection, and a countervailing force that can be used to positively shape city and subregional development patterns, has seen this initiative included as a key policy directive in the most recent metropolitan plan – A Plan for Growing Sydney – in which implementing the Sydney Green Grid is designated a primary action…”[2]

The land upon which Mascot airport was built is also part of the Botany aquifer and wetlands, with the original course of the Cooks River running through the centre. There should be a path running around the whole airport and connecting up with the Mill Stream at Botany. This would consolidate The Green Web, part of the original 1948 Cumberland Plan. The Cumberland Plan identified linked greenspace that would have stretched from Cape Banks on the northern shore of Botany Bay along the Cooks River Valley to Liverpool.

The Cumberland County Council was the forerunner of the Greater Sydney Commission  and tasked with the same brief. The GSC, as the brain child of Lucy Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney and wife of the deposed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, seems to have suffered a similar fate of the Cumberland County Council – out gunned and out manouvered by developers and the self-interest of power brokers.

[1] Petra Crawshaw, Introduction, The Future of Greenways in Sydney, 2009, p 2 accessed 22 January 2016.
[2] Barbara Schaffer, Architecture Bulletin, Winter 2015, retrieved 26 October 2015.
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