Understanding parks and green spaces in Darwin

Project duration: Oct 2020 – Sept 2022

The City of Darwin has more than 600 hectares of parks, gardens and foreshore areas under its care. These green spaces provide a range of benefits for health and well-being, promote community and cultural activities, support tourism, and offer a haven for native plants and animals. They’re also increasingly important cool places as the climate changes.  

Darwin is heating up 

Darwin is experiencing a significant increase in the average number of days above 35°C with projected increases from 11 (pre-2010) to 43 by 2030. Darwin city will feel the full brunt of this, with the urban heat-island effect meaning that the inner city will be particularly hot in the future. Meanwhile, population growth and land development may place increasing pressure on existing green spaces. This project seeks to understand how the city can best manage green spaces so that they work well for everyone. 

Green spaces are important  

Our recent survey work conducted in Darwin shows a wide variety of green spaces in the city are important for many people. Public parks and gardens are used for walking, biking, team sports, community markets, and to share time with friends, family, young kids and pets. It seems that different types of people, and people of different ages, use green spaces for different things. The most popular parks around Darwin are Nightcliff Foreshore, Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Bicentennial Park on The Esplanade, and the Darwin Botanic Gardens. People reported being especially keen on places that provide views, open space, fresh air and connection with nature, as well as specific facilities and amenities, especially for sports, kids and dogs.  

The survey also indicated what issues make people less willing to use such spaces. Poor weather and biting insects can be major problems depending on the season, as well as a lack of specific facilities people want to access. Popular areas may be at risk from overuse, crowding and noise, along with problems with transport access and parking space. Balancing the needs of people who use parks and gardens in different ways is challenging. But with increasing pressure from climate changes, finding the best ways to make green spaces work for everyone has never been more important. 

What’s next? 

We want to talk more with people about what things help make parks and gardens work best for them. How can green spaces be more user-friendly and what can we change to increase the benefits they provide for health and well-being?  

How can you be involved? 

In August 2022, we will be holding discussions with community members to further investigate the things that make green space, parks and gardens work best. If you are interested, contact John Gardner at the email below. 

Dr John Gardner

Project Leader