Climate change and rapid urban densification are set to reshape Sydney Harbour and Australia’s coastal cities over the coming thirty years.

After more than 100 years of urban infrastructure development, diversion of natural water systems and removal of protective ecosystems, we’ve been left with biodiversity loss, erosion, and increasing flood risk. 

Sydney’s foreshore and urban waterways are vulnerable due to failing grey infrastructure, a broken water table and ecosystem loss.

Yet the likely expensive and inefficient grey infrastructure-based response of our urban governance systems will only lead to a cycle of disaster recovery, rather than a proactive adaptation of our cities to protect against the rising seawater, flooding rains, and baking heat.

To survive, cities must be adapted and nature-based solutions can help meet this challenge, making cities healthier, greener, and more connected. Naturalisation is a way to work with our water systems to exponentially heal ecosystems, sequester carbon, increase biodiversity and canopy, while vastly improving local public amenities like bike paths, playgrounds and open green space.

Rewilding Sydney Harbour

The startup environmental and social impact firm, Blue Green Australia is dedicated to creating a vision for transforming the bays of Sydney Harbour into vibrant and sustainable urban foreshore parks. The firm is complimented by the establishment of a non-profit which focuses on the Caring for Country and Community Co-Design elements of the venture.

Blue Green’s research indicates that the primary challenge in reshaping Sydney Harbour is envisioning its potential transformation. Visualising a rewilded harbour, comprehending the various design possibilities, and understanding their trade-offs and complexities can be challenging. 

Its interactive platform leverages gamification, process automation and parametric modelling, allowing residents to co-design their local Sydney Harbour park with nature repair, social impact, resiliency and Caring for Country measures. 

The game portal allows rapid and insightful community consultation and consensus for green infrastructure plans, alongside traditional engagement methods. 

Using this information, a collective response can be curated to produce a best practice concept masterplan, complete with a supporting business and social case.

Blue Green intends to produce large-scale urban transformation masterplans for government, large NGOs, and/or private sector to fund leveraging looming Nature Repair Market incentives and existing market mechanisms.

Image: Blue Green’s interactive platform (prototype) – users design their ideal Rushcutters Bay, exploring the various challenges, trade-offs, and opportunities in a fun, engaging, and easy-to-understand manner.

Blue Green Australia at Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific

The venture will be featured at the upcoming Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific, where Director Colin Finn — also a PhD candidate at The University of Sydney — will introduce potential investors or donors to Blue Green Australia and how funds raised will provide the tools to rewild Sydney Harbour.  

Funding will support Blue Green in creating a low-cost proof of concept, working with First Nations groups, local communities, and a multidisciplinary team to protect threatened, culturally significant foreshore and biodiversity. The process, and the many projects which will hopefully emerge from it, will facilitate the reintroduction of Indigenous wetlands across our urban waterways.

Small immediate impact: Re-visioning Rushcutters Bay

Blue Green Australia’s initial focus is the high-profile yet threatened parklands of Rushcutters Bay in Sydney Harbour. This iconic area is at risk due to rising sea levels and high-rain event flooding, with the majority of the parklands projected to be lost by 2050.

Complementing existing grants, new investment in Re-visioning Rushcutters Bay will fund the creation of a high-level concept masterplan, business case and delivery strategy for the rewilding and climate adaptation of the bay. 

This will be presented to the City of Sydney, Woollahra Council, and NSW State Government, with the sale of the concept plans to fund the scale-up of the Blue Green.

Blue Green Australia is seeking seed-stage investors or charitable donors for Re-visioning Rushcutters as equity or grant funding. It requires an initial capital infusion of $200,000, with potential for further investment in the second stage.  They are especially interested in building a long-term relationship with larger Family Offices, or Impact Investment firms who can scale their involvement as Blue Green grows.

Large scale impact: Rewilding Iron Cove

If Blue Green can raise over $2 million, it can tackle the far larger and more ambitious project of Rewilding Iron Cove, which seeks to create a vision of a self-funding 400-hectare blue green urban parkland which will protect over $2 billion of property while restoring 150 hectares of endangered mangroves and urban forest. This park would transform Sydney, tangibly improving the health and well-being of over a million Sydney residents.

Huge transformative impact: 24+ sites on Sydney Harbour & 150+ sites around Australia

Using generative AI tools, process automation and parametric design trained on the Rushcutters and Iron Cove projects Blue Green will develop a tool kit for the rapid scalable creation of concept master plans and self-funding business cases everywhere the same conditions can be found in harbour-front urban environments.

Possible Sydney project sites identified:

What makes Blue Green Australia an attractive investment?

  • Supporting a sophisticated and scalable, local community and First Nations-led nature repair and climate change adaptation movements.
  • Similar global projects are transforming their cities, however, Australia has been slow to respond to the looming crisis. Help create a vision of a rewilded Sydney Harbour with groundbreaking local projects, with multilayered benefits and high levels of positive market exposure for funding partners.
  • The platform created can be licensed to Government, Landscape Architects and climate-focused NGO’s working in any climate-threatened global harbour city.
  • Blue Green is forging the pathway to align Traditional Owner and local community wants and needs with significant government budgets and priorities – creating win-win profitable solutions.

Here’s Colin speaking about the initiative at the Committee for Sydney’s Sydney Summit last month, where Sydneysiders revealed the one big thing they would do to change the city and prepare it for the future:

Colin will be speaking on the afternoon of March 21 — Day 2 of the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific in the ImpactConnect Deals Room.

For more on Blue Green Australia see

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