TPBE4 Speaker Profile – Ben Seamark
Our triennial conference on urban greenspace takes place on the 22nd and 23rd April at the University of Birmingham. In advance of the conference we’re presenting a series of interviews with some of our featured speakers. In the latest of the series, we speak with Ben Seamark, Coordinator of Environmental Assets, City of Burnside, Australia.
Ben Seamark is an Environmental Manager and Consulting Arborist and has spent the past 25 years working with trees. He studied at Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, and Brookway Park school of Horticulture Australia.
Ben joined the City of Burnside in South Australia as Coordinator of Environmental Assets in 2016 where he is responsible for the management of trees, waste and biodiversity.
Ben’s work and life experiences have generated a passion for trees and their role in society and community, his other areas of interest include Environmental Economics, Information Technology and Horticultural Science. These interests have intersected to develop a drive to reconnect people to nature. In 2018 Ben was awarded Australia National TreeNet’s Leadership in Urban Forestry for the development of Urban Forest Interactive, a website designed specifically to connect people to trees in their urban environment.
Tell us about your presentation:
The presentation will discuss how cognitive mapping can be used to help address canopy loss and how the City of Burnside has used this to support investment in promoting the urban forest.
The presentation will demonstrate some of the promotional work undertaken by the City of Burnside and show others how they can build a cognitive map of their urban forest to help address canopy loss or other policy challenges.
Why is your presentation important for our conference?
Canopy loss is a global issue and urban forestry management has focused on increased tree planting. However addressing canopy requires a multifaceted approach and cognitive mapping can help regions identify what policies and investment may best help them address these challenges.
What are the biggest challenges facing green infrastructure?
An estrangement from nature is the greatest challenge. As more people are born and live in cities, the more separated we become from nature that in turn reduces understanding and connection with it. The urban forest is managed by the public, but if the public have little connection or understanding with it then its management suffers.
What impact is your work making in the built environment?
I would like to think that my work is helping other Councils adopt new approaches in urban forestry management.
How do we build resilient places for us to live in for the future?
A resilient place requires a socially connected community. This can be encouraged by making public places more liveable so as to increase social interaction. Green infrastructure is therefore fundamental to activate public spaces to help create a sense of community in addition to their recognised cooling benefits.
How did you get into your role?
My parents provide me with the opportunity as a child to spend a great deal of time in nature. This experience created a strong connection with and desire to advocate its importance to others and therefore my progression into the field of urban forestry was inevitable and is highly rewarding.
Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 will unite built and natural environment professionals from around the world who are working towards the shared goal of enhancing and developing green infrastructure. This acclaimed urban trees research conference will return to the University of Birmingham on 22-23 April 2020. It is a must-attend event for those who work in urban landscapes or the built environment.