Where do the children play – Why we need green space?

By Elizabeth Handley

Green space gives us areas to play and exercise outdoors, to spend time with family, to rest the eye from all the bitumen and concrete, and to improve our mental and physical health.

Brisbane has had an undersupply of public green space and sport and recreation areas for a long time, but when we had back yards and patches of local bushland, it was less of an issue.  Much of the parkland and green space that had survived was actually in areas that are prone to flooding. As our population has increased, the available green space has been put under more and more pressure. 

During the last forty years, we have lost many areas of recreational space along with much local bushland.  In many suburbs, the situation has become critical. Public recreation areas are disappearing at the same time as population density is zooming up and back yards are being wiped out. Residents now almost feel under siege as we have lost space after space to development, infrastructure requirements or enclosure. 

The Brisbane City Council continually talks about the need to provide for our increased population. Much of the high density development occurring in Brisbane is happening without the necessary infrastructure. As the increase in enrolments in many inner city schools indicates, many families are moving into apartments in those areas. But where will the children play?

As an example, Toowong has lost over half its available parkland and sport and recreation land in the last forty years. Yet the population in all these areas has increased dramatically and the current town plan is encouraging much more high density development.  The outstanding success of the rescued Frew Park at Milton, a desperately fought for community asset, tells us that more of these areas are needed.

Basic town planning tells us that increased population density needs to be accompanied by increased green space. Successful high density development requires a variety of high quality green space and sport and recreational facilities available within easy reach. That is not a luxury. It is a necessity for building healthy and productive communities. But green space is disappearing and new opportunities are not being taken.

An example is the old ABC site at Toowong. It is an ideal site for a river side park that would be an asset to the whole city.  For many years the residents of Toowong have expected this site to be returned to them as parkland. This expectation increased when the ABC was allowed to build their new facility on parkland at Southbank. There is still time to work together to achieve a wonderful parkland outcome there.

Get involved for a better Brisbane and encourage your friends and neighbours to do so as well. Like our facebook page www.facebook. com/ParkItToowong .Visit our website at www.parkit.mycommunity.org.au Email us at parkittoowong@gmail.com Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ parkittoowong.  Brisbane Residents United www.brisbaneresidentsunited.org or visit the Facebook page: brisbaneresidents