As Wagga looks to increase its population significantly over the next several decades, locals are hoping the city will keep its natural spaces as more developments proceed.
Catherine Sterling, 74, believes small pockets of public land should be kept to allow "breathing space" for future generations.
One such pocket is the current home of the Wagga Veteran and Vintage Motor Club, which could one day be sold off to become a car park as part of a proposed $180 million development on Morgan Street.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if that little sliver of still-central land ... could be kept, not just for the people who live here now but as a legacy, we've left something with some foresight for the future," Mrs Sterling said.
Urban and regional planning expert Professor Barbara Norman of Canberra University said green open space brought multiple benefits to a growing community.
She said well-planned public areas promoted health, outdoor activity and wellbeing, provided urban corridors for local wildlife and even cooled surrounding buildings.
"Wagga gets very hot in the summer like many Australian cities and so shade and landscape in these urban spaces, so it's not all concrete which isn't a good solution, is really important," Professor Norman said.
She said developing an open space strategy was important for regional areas, especially a city like Wagga which is predicting significant population increases.
"The pressures will be on in those urban spaces from now over the next 20-30 years and one you've lost those small pieces of open space right in the urban centre, you will never get them back," she said.
"The underlying principle of designing with nature is really going to be the foundation of sustainable cities in the future."
Mrs Sterling said her sons who had moved to larger cities always enjoyed coming back to Wagga for its open spaces.
"We're so lucky in Wagga, it does feel fairly open compared to a city but one day our patch will look like their patch looks like now," she said.
"What we do when we're young has an impact on the people that come after us."