Greening the greyfields: how to renew our suburbs for more liveable, net-zero cities


Our ageing cities are badly in need of regeneration. Many established residential areas, the “greyfields”, are becoming physically, technologically and environmentally obsolete. They are typically located in low-density, car-dependent middle suburbs developed in the mid to late 20th century.

Compared to the outer suburbs, these middle suburbs are rich in services, amenities and jobs. But the greyfields also represent economically outdated, failing or undercapitalised real-estate assets. Their location has made them the focus of suburban backyard infill development.

Unfortunately, the current approach typically cuts down all the trees and creates more car traffic as resident numbers grow. A new kind of urban regeneration is needed at the scale of precincts, rather than lot by lot, to transform the greyfields into more liveable and sustainable suburbs. It calls for a collaborative approach by federal, state and local governments.

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