On Adelaide’s tree canopy, pricey rentals and more

Today, readers comment on expanding the city’s green lungs, rental cost pressures and poetry.

Apr 12, 2024, updated Apr 12, 2024
Adedlaide's tree canopy gain is shown in green and loss in red. This new strategy outlines how to do better. Image: Green Adelaide

Adedlaide's tree canopy gain is shown in green and loss in red. This new strategy outlines how to do better. Image: Green Adelaide

Commenting on the story: Adelaide left in the shade over tree canopy goal

I found this article to highlight a real frustration of mine when we refer to “greening our cities” – the emphasis placed on tree planting, as though that is the only thing we can do to green the city and the suburbs, and reduce hotspots.

Why are we ignoring the profound effect of ground cover and creepers? Consider the South Road corridor of concrete – the very definition of a hot box!

The way it has been widened and expanded makes tree planting an unviable option. But it wouldn’t be hard to have strategic planting all along the route of hardy native ground covers and small shrubs that are adapted to low soil, low nutrient, rocky ground.

Add to that strategic plantings of creepers and vines to hang down the concrete walls, and a great deal of the currently dead, hot and sterile roadway could have significant greenery without the problems trees would cause.

While they wouldn’t provide the kind of shade that trees do, ground cover, small shrubs and creepers would shade the concrete, preventing it from becoming a heat sink.

The same thing goes for our streets. Think of all the nature strips and road islands consisting of sterile bare ground and gravel, regularly sprayed with herbicide to prevent weeds growing. Now imagine them all covered with hardy ground cover and small low lying shrubs.

What if our Stobie poles had frameworks around them to allow vines to grow up them to a limited height? What if our city streets had the strip of paved sidewalk that contains street signs, etc, where people don’t walk, replaced with a foot-wide strip of greenery?

All of this would significantly increase our green footprint. These low-lying plants also remove pollution from the air, they also help fix the issues of heat sinks in the urban and suburban environment.

Just because they don’t shade us, doesn’t mean that they aren’t creating shade that reduces the problem of concrete and bitumen soaking up and retaining heat. Plus they help capture rain and reduce run off, and provide essential environments for insects and the like that are low down on the food chain, providing more food for native birds and animals.

Trees lining streets isn’t enough. We need to be looking at complex urban environments, not ‘one size fits most/cars’. – Anwyn Davies

Commenting on the story: Big rent rises in Adelaide as weekly payments hit record high

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Additional housing and rental capacity will assist but will not alleviate the problem, as high rents are driven by the high costs incurred by landlords.

I am a landlord and also a tenant. I am actually surprised the official published figures are so low.

My rent went up 20% in the second quarter of 2024. It was not unexpected, I know firsthand how costs have escalated over the past 12 months.

As landlords we have no option but to pass on escalating costs due to:

Interest rate increases – this has been delayed for most landlords as they were on fixed interest rates, they are now coming out of fixed interest rates around 2% to variable rates above 6%.

Insurance costs have doubled over the past 12 months

Land tax has increased considerably due to the increase of house values and the stepped approach to applying the tax on higher aggregated property portfolio values.

Landlords have no choice but to pass these costs onto renters. We are not the Housing Trust or a charity organisation, we have investment properties to provide for our families, build wealth and fund our retirement.

I apologised to my tenants when their rents were increased and explained I did not have an option or I would go broke and they would have nowhere to live.

As landlords provide a service the government used to, the government needs to assist landlords by reducing their costs so they can provide affordable rental options.

Abolish land tax, stop insurance fraud and find another mechanism to slow spending/CPI. – Damien Carslake

Commenting on the Poem: The Promise

A lovely poem, very stirring. Thank you for sharing it with us, Phil. – Donella Peters

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