Small child watering a new plant along a suburban street

Cooling the planet, one street at a time

Blacktown Council; Fairfield City Council; NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Multiple projects

The benefits of trees are seemingly endless – they cool our neighbourhoods and homes, cut our heating and cooling bills, make us healthier and happier, clean our air and waterways, and provide food for our wildlife. They also add value to our homes, with research showing that properties in tree-lined streets are valued around 30% higher than those in streets without trees. Brisbane City Council estimates street trees contribute $1.67million in value to the city by improving air quality, capturing rain and reducing carbon.

But not everyone understands the significant value of trees, or wants them planted in their streets or outside their homes. Tree-planting can sometimes polarise communities and neighbours, sometimes resulting in trees being removed by residents and impacting local government financially through the loss of these important and expensive assets.

Cred is a leader in designing and delivering engagement and research with communities to understand attitudes and behaviours that will support councils, governments and private developers to plant more trees in streets and public spaces.

We have worked with many councils and the NSW Government to design engagement that is bespoke to local communities, to understand their perspectives around planting trees and other greening opportunities in parks, streets and backyards.

We have designed and delivered engagement for:

·      Cool Streets Pilot Project (led by Gallagher Studio)

·      Rosemeadow 5 Million Trees demonstration project – Watch a video of the first community event at Heydon Park here

·      Fairfield Council Open Space Strategy engagement.

A family participates in the Rosemeadow 5 million trees demonstration project community event (Source: Cred Consulting).

How we did it

We know that consulting with residents in person before trees are planted creates a more positive experience for community members, results in the right trees being planted in the right place, and saves councils money with fewer trees removed and replaced.


Cool Streets pilot

Cool Streets is an initiative to empower communities to cool the planet, one street at a time.

In 2016, Cred collaborated with Gallagher Studio on a pilot project supported by Blacktown Council.

Cred has continued to support Gallagher Studio to engage with Blacktown residents around the environmental and economic value of street trees. This includes place based events to inform residents about the benefits of street trees and to collect quantitative and qualitative data on street tree preferences, issues and opportunities.

Woman holding new sappling to be planted

The local community took part in classes and actively planted in their neighbourhood (Source: Cred Consulting)

A guide teaching community members about planting
Community classes to learn about planting and the benefits to enable locals to transform their neighbourhood (Source: Milk & Honey for Cred Consulting)
Cred's Elly Sapiro talking with community members
Cred's Elly Sapiro talking with community members about Cool Streets (Source: Milk & Honey for Cred Consulting)
Face painting at community planting event
Participants engaging with activities at the Cool Streets project community event (Source: Cred Consulting)
Planting day with the Blacktown community (Source: Milk & Honey for Cred Consulting)
Young child with helmet looking at an engagement board displaying selected plants as voted by the community
Local kids engaged in understanding planting types and selecting local species (Source: Cred Consulting)

The outcome

By talking with communities, we’ve learned that some of the concerns they have about trees are:

  • Planting the right trees that people will love and care for. The type of tree and how it looks is really important to people with communities loving evergreens and trees with colour and flowers.
  • Planting trees in the right location, that don’t create barriers to driveways, or impact on the feng shui of streets and homes.
  • Root damage and trip hazards from tree roots on footpaths and driveways, and leaf mess that can cause conflict between neighbours.
  • Street trees not being maintained properly and fear of branch drop and property damage.
  • Understanding from local communities what it is they love about trees (and what concerns them), the kinds of trees they prefer, and where they want trees planted can assist councils and landowners to plant the right trees in the right place that can grow to full maturity.


The project was the Joint Winner of the Climate Change Action Award at the Local Government NSW Environment Awards.

The project also won the 2017 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) National Award for Planning Excellence and their NSW Landscape Architecture Award in the Community Contribution category.