City News

New ‘SkyPark’ urban garden coming to UNSW

UNSW Campus

Sydney councils and UNSW are in collaboration to create a new urban garden space on the Kensington campus. Photo: UNSW

By AMBER GRIFFIN

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is collaborating with both Randwick and Waverley Councils in its plan to create a new urban garden space at the Kensington campus. Project ‘SkyParks’ is part of the ‘Greening our City’ initiative, funded by the NSW Government in association with Local Government NSW, which aims to plant 1 million trees across Sydney by 2022.

The pilot project involves the establishment of gardens in under-utilised urban spaces in key sites across Sydney’s eastern suburbs, to research the benefits of greening including cooling benefits, energy savings and improved air and water quality.

 The initiative will transform one of UNSW’s outdoor balcony spaces into an “inviting and adaptable space that can be used for learning”.

Sky Parks

Artists impression of the soon to be installed SkyPark at UNSW. Photo: Waverley Council

The University will be installing equipment with the purpose to monitor weather and environmental conditions at the UNSW SkyPark in order to better understand the benefits and requirements for greening built-up spaces.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos welcomed the addition of the SkyParks, stating that “these living labs embody the innovation and sense of community that is needed to help us achieve sustainable and climate resilient cities”.

“They will also help us achieve our community target of net zero emission by 2035, as this cooling would hopefully mean less reliance on air conditioning” Cr Masselos said.

UNSW students and staff welcome new green space

Staff and students are welcoming the projects and its expected positive impacts on both the environment and the UNSW campus.

“Through a series of pilot sites, we hope to identify the barriers, benefits, and ultimately best practice solutions to adapting our existing buildings” researcher Alexander Georgouras from UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture told the UNSW Newsroom.

“Although many of these forgotten spaces are currently under-utilised, they have the ability to create a more climate-resilient and socially equitable city” Geogouras stated.

UNSW student Elizabeth Wilkinson shared with City Hub that she is glad the university is turning more of the free space on campus into green areas where students can go to study and relax.

“It’s so exciting to be part of a pilot project like this that could shape the way other university campuses, parks and residential areas will look in the future! Starting to use the space we have to become more environmentally friendly is definitely important.”

Wilkinson said that the projects is a step in the right direction for environmental and student wellbeing.

“We certainly need much more green space in order to work towards sustainability.”

“The impact green spaces have on student and general mental health is underrated so adding this will hopefully provide a peaceful environment that students can use to either study or take a well-deserved break” Wilkinson said.