All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others


Cats are a serious threat for the biodiversity, is the conclusion of the research of Pete Marra and his college Tom Will. They wrote the book “Cat wars”. Pete and Tom researched the role of human beings in the extinction of birds. Which part of the loss is not caused by virus or other natural ennemies but by us.
Kate Orff, a well known American landscape architect, showed during a lecture on the landscape biennale in Barcelona, a matrix of photos of dead birds . She collected lots of dead birds at the foot of glass buildings, noise screens and infrastructural elements. The findings, with passport, were sent to the National Road Department. I hope they shaped the building code into a more bird friendly one. .
The two researchers concluded that nor the glass buildings, the infrastructural elements, the windmills, the cars or electricity cables were the most devastating of human actions but our domesticated cats.
There goes a big chunk of the stewardship for endangered bird species, because most people love their cats more than anything else.

Master class “Working with nature,,

Leidsche Rijn, 8 juli 2015 Willem Alexanderpark Foto: Walter Herfst

Leidsche Rijn, 8 juli 2015
Willem Alexanderpark
Foto: Walter Herfst

Organization master class: DS, Yuka Yoshida
Partners: Academy of Architecture, Tree nursery Het Groene Huis,
Date: October 15, 2016 from 9:00 to 16:00h at Boskoop
Fee: 149,- euro exclusive 21% BTW
Language: Dutch

Living with nature improves the quality of life. And nature is increasingly important for citizens. What few know is that the Dutch do have a long tradition of designing with nature.

Well known is that plants in the city reduces urban problems such as heat stress and catch small dust particals in the air. And that the effects of climate change such as heavy rainfall, are mitigated by trees, retaining rainwater. A bird song in the morning makes us happy. And patients cure faster with a window view on nature.

The master class starts with a lecture by Professor Dr. Erik A. de Jong on the Dutch history of
Designing with Nature. The urge to live with nature originates in the late 19th century. The designer will gain insight into the current design trend in the perspective of time, the idea of nature and the architects at that time.

Plants and animals are bound to each other, the knowledge about who does it with whom, increases day by day. Fred Booy uses the knowledge in designing planting plans. He tells about the balance between aesthetics (E) and ecology (E) an the hand of his own work. The public space has more and more flowers. He will explain the new management of green in the cities, the economic side (E). The designer learns to think according to the three E’s.

In the third lecture Ir. Maike van Stiphout tells what a Nature Inclusive City is and what benefits people have when we start designing for plants and animals. The designer collects valuable arguments and references to inspire its clients to make nature inclusive developments.

The master class will take place at the tree nursery Het Groene Huis in Boskoop. An excursion on the nature based nursery, guided by owner Fred Booy, is part of the master class.

For more information look at

Filming for European Exchange

160912-filming-ml-mvs-hortusSeptember 8th, 2016. The second day of filming about the research conducted within the Nextcity project took place along river Amstel in a summerly setting. In an interview setting Maike van Stiphout (DS) and Mathias elaborated on the added value of biodiversity in the city. The film is part of the European Emila project and will be online later this year.

Diving in clear water thanks to increased biodiversity

Nyasha01cropAcademy of Architecture Amsterdam student Nyasha Harper presents a design for biodiversity in the city with many spin-offs. Her proposal for remodelling a part of  a run down park in Amsterdam West adds a great landscape design that tells a story, but also introduces a neighboorhoud based Swimming Club. Volunteers take care of the proposed water filtering plants that are cleaning a section of the blurry canal. As a reward they get a swim in the unprecedented clear Amsterdam waters. A design for neighbourhood empowerment, increasing biodiversity and quality of urban life. Dive in!


International Biodiversity Day 22nd of May 2016

The 22nd of May is International Day for Biodiversity. This year’s topic is Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods.

On International Biodiversity Day the Rotterdam New Institute organizeds a number of activities along with the Natural History Museum. Visitors can explore the Museum’s biodiversity in its garden and how man can contribute to biodiversity in the city. Find out more at Het Nieuwe Instituut.
“The small zoo” is the contribution of NextCity initiator DS landscape architects to this day, it is part of the Zevenklapper (‘seven claps’) project to make parents aware of nature around the house, through 7 projects for children. The Zevenklapper is adopted by nature education insititution Veldwerk Netherlands.

Read more on past an this years Day of Biological Diversity as declared by the United Nations at the Convention on biodiversity.

Master Class on succesful municipal biodiversity policy

160425 MasterclassBiodiversiteit (c) elba
In June 2016 a Masterclass for Biodiversity is held in Tilburg and Nijmegen. In many municipalities in the Netherlands biodiversity policy is still in its infancy when it comes to the municipal level. Many municipalities tend to follow traditional green policy and are not always aware of their role and responsibility for biodiversity.

With the new Law on Nature Protection (‘Wet Natuurbescherming’ ) to be introduced in 2017 municipalities and provinces are expected to ensure that they can effectively protect and expand biodiversity.

Questions addressed are:
– What impact has the ‘Wet Natuurbescherming’ of your organization?
– How do you meet the requirements of tis Nature Protection Law?
– What role can expect from the national government?
– What steps can be taken to increase biodiversity in your municipality?
– Which green is capable?
– How do you measure biodiversity in your municipality?

The Master Class costs 299 euro and takes place on Tuesday afternoon, June 2 in Tilburg and on Tuesday afternoon, June 16 in Helicon Nijmegen. Read more on the programme and register.


Those who live with us are not always our friends. Argentina recently introduced two hunters of Aedes mosquito larvae to kill them: fish and toads.
In El Salvador they consider since long mosquito larvae fish food! The El Salvadorian government distributes Samba fish to those having stagnant water. Drinking water in barrels is the perfect biotope for larvae and many poor people have this. They say the method saved the population from dengue and ZIKA.
Argentina has two new friends to fight the mosquito: fish and toads. You can buy them on the Argentinean market today for 7 dollars each.
And for those who do speak Spanish:


Atelier Groenblauw launched in collaboration with various water boards and municipalities the HuisjeBoompjeBeter app. This free app helps users to make their home and garden climate resistant. You can find it in the app store on your mobile phone. The app allows you to live not only more sustainable and more comfortable but also contribute to a pleasant city with a climate-resilient environment.

The House Boompje Better app responds to the changing climate and especially gives practical tips that are easy and quick to carry out in order to live comfortably in the future. The app provides access to practical tips to make your home climate-proof and easily compare your eco-score with others. Anyone with a house with its own roof, balcony or garden can now contribute to a climate resilient environment!

Look also for:
Urban green-Blue grids for sustainable and dynamic cities, Hiltrud Pötz and co-author Pierre Bleuze.

Cartoon report Stadscafe RAP

by Maarten Wolterink

by Maarten Wolterink

The first edition of Stadscafé RAP Leiden has been succesfull. The theme Nature & the City was approached by three guests with various backgrounds, from nature-inclusive design (Maike van Stiphout from DS), bird protection (Jip Louwe Kooijmans from Vogelbescherming Nederland) to expert in biodiversity (Marco Roos from Naturalis). The crowd got excited and engaged itself “en masse” for removing tiles in their gardens in order to make room for more biodiversity. Some even promised that same evening to get started! Three lucky ones went home with a free ‘bakkie om’ from Leidse Grond. Satisfactorily moderator Mathias Lehner could conclude that a large majority of the approximately 80 attendees eventually rallied behind the statement: More biodiversity is achievable if everyone participates. I do too.

Leiden newspaper cartoonist Maarten Wolterink summarized the evening in a series of beautiful and funny cartoons. See you at the next Stadscafe in Leiden!