“Stroomversnelling” (‘Rapids of electricity’) is the name of a Dutch coalition of builders, housing associations, banks, suppliers and communities. They combine energy saving with building for nature. Their goal is to facilitate the permit process for renovating identic row houses to a ‘zero-on-the-meter’ energy efficiency.
Our massive post war building production is much better isolated than those built before but also less suitable for the nesting of many species, such as bats, swifts and sparrows. Will the Zero-on-the-meter efforts reduce once again the housing opportunities for many animals?
The Netherlands are champions in efficient building. “Stroomversnelling” developed the NOM-quality mark. With this quality mark the renovation strategy meets all requirements to be zero-on-the-meter and can be approved quickly by the council. One of the assets is that the NOM quality mark includes nesting facilities for bats, swifts and sparrows in the walls and roofs of NOM-houses. “Stroomversnelling” acts proactive. They go beyond the EU laws to protect habitats, animal and plant species to ease the permit process. The building industry aims at renovating at least 110,000 homes in the coming years. On this scale the Dutch approach is a great opportunity for biodiversity. The districts with NOM-houses will likely be a walhalla for bats, swifts and sparrows!
Honoured with the National Dutch Steel Award 2016 and realized in May 2015 the 250m long Palaisbrug across the rail tracks in Dutch city Den Bosch proves that highly urban and infrastructural locations can contribute to biodiversity. ‘Adding 2500m2’ of park surface to the city the weather resistant steel bridge designed by Dutch architects Benthem Crouwel integrates lighting and furniture but also plants and trees – and all the species living on the latter which were chosen together with botanist Piet Oudolf. The bridge is the second park-bridge globally and features floor heating, an irrigation system and free Wifi.
Image above (c) Jannes Linders, below (c) denboschtips.com
Green and blue infrastructures provide a range of services which can make cities more resilient and help us adapt to climate change. Using green and blue infrastructure is recognised as a desirable ‘win-win’ approach because it also delivers multiple social, economic and environmental benefits.
The Malmö city district of Västra Hamnen (Western Harbour) in Sweden is an example where green infrastructure planning tools have been successfully used in new developments. The planning of the Western Harbour area began already in the late 1990s.
The DSO of the city of The Hague wrote a document with tips and tricks to improve nature inclusif development in their town. Amongst all they considers copying the Malmö Green Points System. The document is worthfull input for all cities in The Netherlands who consider to make their towns nature inclusif. Download the document.
Having spoken to Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside recently on her current and recent projects around the world Petra gave NextCity an exclusive insight into her literature list on biodiversity in the city. Get inspired and join the NextCity book club!
La Vie des Fourmis, Maurice Maeterlinck
A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson
Taxidermy for Language – Animals, Tine Melzer
The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart
La Vie des Abeilles, Maurice Maeterlinck
The Plausibility of Life, Marc W. Kirschner + John C. Gerhart
Planten die elkaars gezelschap zoeken, Helen Philbrick + Richard B. Gregg
(‘Plants that are looking for each others’ company’)
What good are bugs?, Gilbert Waldbauer
The final presentation for Mathias’ first year students at the Academy of Architecture took place on October 26th, 2016. The students of architecture, landscape architectur and urban planning attending the design class ‘Feel Good’ at the Academy brought in a couple of fresh ideas for more biodiversity and Quality of Life in the City.
The work by student Bart Donkers proposes a resting place for stressed urban nomads next to one of the ferry stops zig-zagging through the Amsterdam waters of the IJ in the upcoming urban North of the city. A huge diversity of singing birds helps the busy urban travellers to relax all-year round and protected by the winds of the open water.
On November 24th, 2016 Dutch Hogeschool Larenstein organizes an afternoon (12.30-17.00 hrs) on biodiversity in the city. There are also a couple of interesting workshops to attend, too. Find out more and sign up. Dutch spoken.
Last week Mathias interviewed renown landscape designer Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside as next part of the interview series on ‘Building for Biodiversity in the City’ that will be available as e-learning to students on European schools for landscape architecture. Petra is not only a great designer but also a fun interview partner; she had brought great proejcts in a.o. Madrid, Quatar and Almere, and a basket full of autum leaves – with a lot of biodiversity inside as we could find out at closer inspection!
In the summer of 2016 Mathias Lehner spoke with Maike van Stiphout about NextCity and how biodiversity in the city can be increased by architectural design.
Watch the teaser video for this e-learning video that has been published within the Emila network of European landschape architecture schools.
I never thought that we would need tanks to protect the endangered ‘yellow bellied toad’. Recently an army tank drove through the nature reserve Mattheiser Wald. This time it was not an army exercise but it was ‘rolling for biodiversity’.
A toad demands for her eggs virgin, sunny, new, shallow ponds. Biologists discovered that tanks make the perfect pools to deposit their eggs. The result of the ride is a beautiful architectural print. They made a charming egg deposit design. This is just the beginning, let’s design prints to increase biodiversity!
NRC 29-30 oktober, Wetenschapsbijlage, de kleine wetenschap, Hester van Santen