By Michéle Pirozzi, National Commercial Director, oOh!media

The last three years has seen a drive towards a more pluralistic approach to positive placemaking, where innovative solutions to address sustainability concerns is a responsibility shared by all.

Michéle Pirozzi, National Commercial Director, oOh!media.

While the pandemic reinforced the notion of hard geographical borders both at home and abroad, we inversely saw the delineation of the traditional boundaries between government, the corporate sector and community organisations when it comes to creating more conscious and sustainable places for people to live, work and play.

Learning that meaningful change can be found in successful partnerships, drawing on the strengths each group brings to the table.

The most pressing issue of our time

Addressing the needs and concerns of the communities in which we operate has been a key focus for oOh! for over 30 years, and there is no more pressing issue than the impact of climate change.

A recent research report by the Reserve Bank of Australia found that over 1.6 million homes across the country are at moderate or high risk, right now, from climate change-related extreme weather, with that number forecast to increase by more than 60 per cent by 2050.

These numbers mean that for one in six people across Australia today reducing emissions and mitigating the deleterious impacts of a changing climate is essential in order to preserve their current residence.

Helping to build resilient communities

Australian suburbs are both contributors to, and at risk from, climate change hazards, and so local councils are necessarily invested in the development of adaptive capacity and increasing the resilience of their communities.

A key pathway to achieving this is building a public transport network that will substitute for a sizeable share of car journeys; removing cars from our roads will go a long way to addressing the source of the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

But councils cannot be expected to go it alone, and that is where industry comes into play – partnering with local governments to provide innovative solutions for communities.

Public transport for the future

In September 2022, oOh! launched the first of its Living Roof bus shelters – a scalable project that directly contributes to a healthy urban environment by capturing particulates and absorbing gaseous contaminants, storing rainwater and reducing the peak flow of water into suburban waterways, providing cooling and promoting urban biodiversity.

The Living Roof shelters have been developed and tested with the variable Australian climate in mind and can be customised to feature plants endemic to an area to ensure their success.

Internationally, where ‘green roofs’ on public infrastructure have been used for several years, studies have consistently shown that in addition to the environmental benefits, these installations greatly contribute to a sense of happiness and wellbeing amongst local commuters – a serene piece of the natural world in the urban environment.

More locally, the University of Melbourne has found that looking at a green roof for a mere 40 seconds improved concentration and provided a strong restorative sense of calm.

oOh!’s commitment to partnering with councils to address community needs extends across our operations; our maintenance vehicles use a specialised software system which optimises their time on the road, keeping emissions low, and all vehicles use iconic water to clean bus shelters, which means the shelters remain cleaner longer without the need for detergents.

There is no magic bullet for addressing the impact of climate change on our communities. The path forward, however, is clear – listening, learning, being committed to change, and building trust by partnering together.

This is a sponsored editorial brought to you by oOh!media, for more information go to oohmedia.com.au

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