We have developed a Step-by-Step Guide to help you and your community set up an independent and self-managed green infrastructure program in your local city.

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Regardless of the nature of the program (whether you are greening a laneway or developing a community garden) the process will help you to get started and set up a solid foundation for an engaging program in the long run. 

How to navigate the process

The Step-by-Step Guide is made up of six building blocks. Each building block focuses on a specific aspect of the program. The process has been set up as a guide, encouraging you to work through each building block, one at a time. 

We recommend working through the building blocks in the order provided, as there is a natural progression from one to the next. Of course, you may find it useful to work across the different building blocks, however always keep in mind the intended progression of the guide. 

For example, Step 6. Define funding mechanisms is outlined as a final step in the process. We agree this is a very important aspect to plan for and we recognise that there is a temptation to fast-track to complete this step before anything else.  

Our advice is to set up your program by taking the time to first identify who you want to involve and what would attract them to be a part of the program. Use this to start a conversation from a place of empathy and understanding and you’ll find that your community naturally want to be involved. Once you have established trust and excitement in the program, funding conversations will naturally evolve and your community can be a part of the decision making progress. 

Each step provides a general overview of how to get started, accompanied by an example of how this step would be addressed and executed in the Melbourne context. As much as possible, adapt and tweak each step to suit your local context or the constraints you may be working with. 

Use Service Design Principles as anchor points 

To accompany the Step-by-Step Guide, we have developed a set of Service Design Principles. The principles help set and maintain an overarching tone and vision for the program. 

Use these principles as an anchor point to help you navigate through the setup process and manage the program in the long run. They can also be used to define a standard of success for your program. You will find that some principles will resonate more than others, depending on where you are in the journey and what your local context is. We recommend checking in on how you are tracking in addressing the principles on a regular basis. 

Identify a program owner

Before you dive in, it is important to identify the owner of the program. This is someone who will be responsible for managing the program from start to finish. Select the program owner before you start working on the Step-by-Step Guide. 

The owner is the main point of contact for the program and – with the support from others – will make the final decisions on the activities and direction of the program. Ideally, the owner is someone who is passionate about the intent of the program (what it aims to achieve) and wants to see it succeed.

A small group of like-minded individuals can also act as the ‘owner’. We advise to keep this number small and manageable, no more than 1–3 owners depending on the size of the program. As you progress through the guide, you will be able to pull in others for support and advice.

It is important for the the owner to have adequate time set aside to lead the program and it always helps for them to have an established network in the local community.

In Melbourne’s context, the owner of the ‘Green your Laneway’ program is ideally the City of Melbourne Council. Whilst many are passionate about the program, we found that members of the inner city community didn’t want to take on the leadership role.  

The local Council is regarded as a natural fit to lead the program and a natural extension of the Council’s existing role in the city. Everyone we spoke to indicated that the City of Melbourne brand instills trust and confidence. The Council is regarded as a neutral party that will always try to acknowledge the varying requirements of everyone involved and work towards a shared outcome.

In Melbourne

In Melbourne’s context, the owner of the ‘Green your Laneway’ program is ideally the City of Melbourne Council. Whilst many are passionate about the program, we found that members of the inner city community didn’t want to take on the leadership role.  

The local Council is regarded as a natural fit to lead the program and a natural extension of the Council’s existing role in the city. Everyone we spoke to indicated that the City of Melbourne brand instills trust and confidence. The Council is regarded as a neutral party that will always try to acknowledge the varying requirements of everyone involved and work towards a shared outcome.

“We need the guidance from the Council.” 

Katherine, apartment owner & resident

“The Council needs to be a gatekeeper to make the final decision.” 

Ken, apartment owner & resident