nature and the city: Melbourne and New York

Melbourne suffers from terrible urban sprawl. Public transport has not kept up with inexorable pressure from developers. Now a new report sensibly recommends denser population growth along existing public transportation routes. Community groups like Save Our Suburbs oppose this development, but it seems to me that change is inevitable. Instead of opposing it, we need to focus on integrating the natural world with urban and suburban environments.

Melbourne does this well with a system of bike and walking tracks along the city's river, the Yarra, and its tributary creeks, Merri Creek north of the city, and Gardiner Creek, in the city's south east. Community groups and local government combine to maintain the trails and vegetate and re-vegetate the areas as needed. Some parts of the tracks are bushland, other parts present urban views.

The High Line in New York City is a park that is still being developed on the site of a derelict railway line. It is thirty feet above street level and over a mile long. It's not a park in the traditional sense, i.e. a natural space within a city. It is, rather,an inspiring example of combining the natural and the built environments.

Parts of the line are secluded natural spaces, other parts run between buildings. The designer, Piet Oudolf, specializes in wild gardens, and has planted natural looking drifts of perennials, mostly indigenous species. These are supposed to echo the weeds which grew alongside the line when it was a functioning railway line.

Walking the High Line must be a wonderful way to see Manhattan... sigh ...

... but in the meantime, I'll just wonder down to Gardiners Creek, and see if I can see any of the rakali (native water rats) that live there.

(photos from Wikipedia)


  1. Next time I go to NY, I'll try to see this place. Thanks!

  2. It's good to have bike rides to get around the city

  3. Our cities are filled with derelict lots that would make beautiful parks and community gardens. It would be great to see more transformed. Happy blogging!

  4. Hi Catmint~~ It's encouraging to see the renewed interest in nature and the incorporation of green spaces within the formidable concrete jungle.

    The photo of Gardiner's Creek reminds me of our local Grande Prairie Park. No rakali but a bevy of ducks and a gaggle of geese. LOL

    Thank you for your efforts to ID the Jasmine. I was just curious but hate for you to labor over it. I can also search. I'm just such a sucker for pink. Glad to hear I'm not the only one. :]

  5. Real river rats? hmmmmm. I'm not sure I'd really want to seek them out.


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