Hello BLF!

My name is Siobhan Colombo and I'm a graduate ecologist and doctoral researcher from the Cities Research Institute at Griffith Uni.

My field of research is biophilic urbanism which is an emerging paradigm in urban planning that considers nature as a primary focus in all planning and legislative decisions. This includes both conservation of existing natural features and the inclusion of natural elements in the creation of our urban environment. This approach benefits the urban community physically (e.g. mitigating the Urban Heat Island effect, managing runoff, improving air quality) and increases our well-being, simply through daily exposure to the vitality of nature.

The end result of this design template is the creation of a biophilic city - that is, a nature loving city :)

Globally, this paradigm has been actively pursued by many cities. The benefits, perhaps obvious to people such as ourselves, are becoming more pronounced, and both contributing factors and implementation pathways are becoming clearer. To various extents, community gardens are an essential part of every currently recognised biophilic city - they enable food security, increase the presence of ecologically effective surface area and, perhaps most importantly, provide an excellent vector for long-term social change.

As active community gardeners, I'd really like to learn about your own perceptions of urban nature and how you might define a nature loving city. Please feel free to add to this dialogue because it’s not only an opportunity for me to understand your perspective, but also a legitimate and powerful method for you guys, as Brisbanites, to contribute to a process that will ultimately benefit our city and planet :)


Siobhan :)

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  • wow Friday sounds like an awesome experience and worthwhile undertaking pity its a work day - Will Gayle be able to tell us some more about what is talked about on Friday ? Its good to get a few perspectives ! 

    • G'Day Mary-Ann :)

      While I can't speak for Gayle, I can definitely disseminate the discussions/results/outcomes here on BLF, if you guys would like? There will also be a dedicated site up within the coming weeks which you can peruse at your own leisure :)

      Furthermore, there is an accompanying survey to be created from Friday's program - if any of you are interested in completing it, I can share it (either here, if appropriate, or via email).

      And of course, you can email me or post on my page here, if you like :)

  • Sounds fascinating and hopeful. Is there any plan for location/s for this city yet Siobhan?

    • If you are free on Friday morning, come along to our workshop! Free morning tea and a chance to contribute to the effort! :)

      Mapping for Nature Loving Cities

      • Thanks for the invitation Siobhan but I work FT M-F, but thanks anyway. Gayle will represent us admirably! She knows how to put her thoughts into words ;)

        • No worries at all! I am looking forward to meeting Gayle :)

    • G'Day Lissa :)

      There are many separate/individual examples of biophilic design and elements here in Brissy however the perspective shift required to engage biophilic urbanism as the dominant planning approach is yet to occur :(

      My own research is part of a MUCH larger effort to address/challenge the identified barriers to mainstreaming BU here in Australia - said barriers are things like a lack of legislative support and accurate local baseline data.

      I am working on developing an assessment protocol, based on digital geospatial analysis and secondary data, in an attempt to provide an economical method of collecting baseline data (of both the built environment AND the attitudes/behaviours of our population) and creating visualisations for multidisciplinary consultations.

      That's a fancy way of saying I use a computer to measure stuff and make pictures so that the legislators understand what is and what should be ;) :)

      So while Brissy definitely engages nature in its urban environment, we are yet to engage the principles of BU wholesale...but we're working on it! :)



  • Sounds like you would certainly be an asset to BLF. You will find most of our members would appreciate your values and enthusiasm.

    As Andy says Disabled Gardeners have a bit of a challenge getting around large gardens. I am disabled myself and stairs are my main concern, we need more railings on steps but better still gently slops are easier to use. I would also like to see more gardens that consider those in wheelchairs (perhaps raised gardens would help), gardens for the Visual Impaired (plants to feel and smell). More Green Spaces in city and suburban area where families can get together, with more seating (perhaps using local products. I would like to see more Art in the Gardens.

    If you would like to put your upcoming workshops on BLF, just go to Events and do the same as you did for this Discussion.

    • Awww shucks! Thanks for that Dianne :)

      Access is big part of an area's sense of place, both access to and within said space. The idea of specifically designing for sensory access as well is such a great idea! :)

      And you will never hear me say no to more art, more green space or more local products!

  • Hey Andy, thanks for the prod.  

    Hi Siobhan, 
    Fabulous.  I'm familiar with the Singapore city in a garden idea and aim to get a Brisbane suburban version moving - a bit like a suburban long paddock but for wildlife and people, not cattle.  You can see a bit about what I'm on about at https://www.brisbanecitylife.com.au   

    While community gardens are all very good, I think a higher priority is the masses of public land that we use so badly in our sprawling city of Brisbane.  Once that is done, community and individual food gardens will just be a natural part of the mix.

    I've registered for this event on the 24th


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