Biophile Baysy

BAYSWATER council will look at creating a greener city using a design strategy described by one councillor as “a bunch of waffle”.

At Tuesday’s monthly meeting, Cr Catherine Ehrhardt successfully tabled a motion calling on officers to prepare a report on biophilic design and start working on appropriate policies.

Cr Ehrhardt says biophilic design responds to the innate human need to connect to nature.

“The main principles include green corridors and green spaces, green building elements such as green walls and roofs,” she says.

“It’s about bringing nature to urban areas, and putting it at the core of building designs, rather than as an afterthought.”

Cr Ehrhardt says great biophilic architecture can be found in Chicago, Singapore and Canada, and over east Burwood council had a ‘green roof’ policy for buildings over eight storeys.

“You have greenery up there and they act like an insulation for the building,” Cr Ehrhardt says.

“You can harvest water through them, and they also are more heat reflective than most building roofs like concrete.”

But Cr Brent Fleeton voted against the motion, saying there’s more pressing issues.

“We haven’t got the basics right in terms of development in Bayswater, that being our draft structure plan, but somehow we’re off talking about this,” he says.

“We have proven time and time again we cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.”

A ‘green wall’ was installed at the Northbridge Piazza in 2009, but Perth council had to spend $60,000 on a ”modular vertical garden system” after the plants started carking it.

Ms Ehrhardt said other places in Perth had employed biophilic design and were doing very well.

“QV1 has a green roof with a community garden; there are even chickens up there,” she says.

“It comes down to pure financials. If you put a green roof and biophilic ideas on larger buildings, the cost is spread more evenly.

“The more buildings that employ biophilic design, the cheaper it will get.

“We need to encourage developers to do these kind of things to buildings.”


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