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 :)