The urban landscape is becoming an increasingly important and expanding part of our environment, so investigating the interplay between biodiversity and this landscape is also becoming increasingly important. Habitat modification has been identified as one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss, therefore how we manage biodiversity, and how we design the urban landscape to accommodate biodiversity, are both key questions.
A recent study conducted by the collectible toy company Sylvanian Families, reveals that the younger generations know less about the environment than previous young generations. They state that if parents keep allowing their children to use technology more than playing outside, then knowledge of the world around us will continue to decline.
One startling result of their study, showed that just over 1/3 of children (38%) said that they explored wildlife and the natural environment at least once a week, while 1/10 either never do or do so only once per year. With more people living in urban environments than in rural environments, it may be that it is more difficult to explore nature and wildlife – this is where the design of urban landscapes comes in. How do we integrate nature into urban environments?
More than 70% of the British public live in urban areas! So if nature and wildlife are going to be daily parts of our lives we need to find ways to integrate the needs of people and nature in an urban setting. Can we re-discover nature in a urban existence? A recent report from the BRE (Building Research Establishment) Group shows that 90% of participating cities from 30 UK councils identified that environmental issues need to be addressed. Half of the cities however did present strategies to support urban wildlife and pollinators that were beneficial to biodiversity.
Examples of such strategies include:
- Converting disused and brownfield sites into urban farms with beehives and wetlands (Bristol).
- Green roofs and walls (London).
- Green Infrastructure approach to spatial planning – integrating green space, wildlife corridors and wetlands into planning from the design stage (Glasgow and Clyde Valley).
Integrating more green infrastructure into urban spatial planning is a promising next step, something which is becoming increasingly important to act upon with expanding urban landscapes.