Author Archives: Maike van Stiphout

Documentary “The Nature of cities” – Timothy Beatley

The nature inclusive cities are the future human biotopes. In the documentary “The Nature of Cities” Professor Timothy Beatley explores urban projects around the world, representing the new green movement that hopes to move our urban environments beyond sustainability to a regenerative way of living. Designers, academics and ecologists from Malmö Sweden until Austin Texas, talk about the succes of their nature inclusive neighbourhoods. Some interesting quotes like the one mentioned above,lard the journey.

Citizens do invest in these neighbourhoods, in their houses, gardens and social connections. He proves that is does create better cities. After seeing all these succesfull projects you long for a documentary with new fresh examples, showing that we do continue developing nature inclusiveness in cities. Who’s next!

You can watch at: or

Plan Amsterdam – Building a green city

Plan Amsterdam is a magazine about physical planning, projects and developments in the city and the metropolitan region of Amsterdam. Several issues are in English. The latest magazine is about building a green city. This edition contains an interview with Maike van Stiphout about building for biodiversity.

Amsterdam residents are increasingly visiting green spaces in their neighbourhoods to relax, enjoy nature, play, exercise or meet friends. Green spaces provide an attractive environment and offers peace and tranquility. That alone is of great value in an increasingly crowded city.

Is there enough room for more green space in a densifying city? This issue of Plan Amsterdam makes it clear that we have to protect and cherish our green space. By improving the quality of this green space more Amsterdam residents and visitors will be able to enjoy it.

Read the full online version:

Biodiversity for all on former ship slope

On an island in the city of Dordrecht, a new district is being developed – Stadswerven. It is built on the site of a former shipyard. The ship slope is the park of the district. The gradual transition from land to water and the ever changing water levels of the river are conditions for the design of a new habitat for men, plants, birds, fish, amphibians and insects. An innovative quay design is made of stabilized dredges, including nesting possibilities for the kingfisher and shore swallow. The Wervenpark is seen as the start of the transformation of all the banks along the Merwede, Maas and North into a regional tidal park.

This beautiful park concept and more works are to be seen on the exposition “Building with nature” in the Baggermuseum in Dordrecht until the 7th of April 2018. For more information visit:

Architecture school boasts a MOER: multi objectives environmental roof

Brand new Greenwich University received a prize for its BREEAM+ school complex thanks to the employees of the department of landscape architecture. They commissioned no less than 14 roof gardens on the building and composed a series of “green experiences”. The upper gardens are harsh fields, where in extreme conditions solar panels share space with wild plants. Modern planted borders align the outdoor classroom, students and visitors can harvest “quince”, lettuce and more in the edible gardens. The pool further up has immediately been occupied by a couple of ducks. And a fox climbs the safety stairs at night to stray around on the roof meadows.
“We even have our own honey, but it’s already sold out”, landscape architect Benz Kotzen says.
This project greatly proves that biodiversity in the city can strive to unprecedented heights with great commissions and stewardship. The gardens are taken care of by the staff themselves.
Client:University of Greeenwich
Architect: Heneghan Peng architects
Landscape architect: Benz Kotzen, Robert Holde
Year: 2014
Size roofs: 0,45 hectares

“Animal Aided Design (AAD)”

In order to protect animal species or to establish new ones in cities, scientists Dr. Thomas E. Hauck (University of Kassel) and Prof. Wolfgang W. Weisser from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed the concept “Animal-Aided Design (AAD)”. It aims to integrate the needs of animals into urban planning. Valuable niches can be created for birds, reptiles or mammals, and the quality of life of city dwellers will increase.

In their research project, they examine how urban requirements and the needs of animals can be combined. They wrote an interesting brochure on it.

At the international scientific Workshop „Designing Urban Animal Diversity“ on 28 and 29 September at the the Technical University of Munich experts who have been working on design and planning for biodiversity in the urban realm are invited to present and compare different methods of integrating animals into urban developments. is taking part in the workshop.

For more information on AAD look at:

Making Urban Nature

Making Urban Nature is a book of examples about nature-inclusive designing of outdoor spaces in European cities. From different angles, this publication addresses the theory of ecology and biodiversity, animals in the city, biotopes in the city and the management of urban nature. It gives ten recommendations for nature-inclusive design, in short:
1. design a process
2. be strategic
3. design inclusively and integrally
4. make complex and diverse designs
5. design points, surfaces and lines into a coherent system
6. design with nature – not against nature
7. let nature and culture inspire you
8. design the management
9. take a stand in the discussions about nature development
10. hang on

I discovered throught this book interesting work of Edouard Francois in Paris. Get inspired to build for biodiversity this summer: Put this guide in your suitcase and visite some fine examples in our European cities.

Designing bird friendly buildings

As changes in production and construction techniques facilitated the greater use of glass, cities have become more dangerous for birds to navigate through. Untreated glass is responsible for virtually all bird collisions with buildings. The relative threat posed by a particular building depends significantly on the amount of exterior glass, as well as the type of glass used, and the presence of glass ”design traps”.
The Valley is the newest icon to be built on the Zuidas in Amsterdam, designed by MVRDV and developed by OVG. This building combines glass facades and glass balconies with an abundance of trees and shrubs on all floors. The right choice of vegetation will attract lots of birds. An existing and challenging design! But could this healthy environment for people be the death of lots of birds, making it all less pleasant?
The Canadian bird live organisation FLAP published a handbook for architects titled Bird friendly – best practices Glass. It’s full of tips and tricks. With this at hand all architects can make bird friendly buildings. And MVRDV can make the Valley a place to live for all.

Download the handbook here:

Int. Conference on Metropolitan Planning and Ecology

The lecture of M. van Stiphout images:

The Dutch Birdlife is contributing to a nature inclusive city. On March 23, we immerse ourselves in the city of the future and we celebrate the successes that have been achieved so far. We’ll be inspired by experts in the field of nature inclusive urban planning and construction. And we’ll hear what birds ‘tell’ us on the future of the built environment.

The development in a dense urban areas, such as the Netherlands and metropolitan regions in other countries, is longing for the combination of good planning including the needs of all that lives.

Builders, architects, planners, managers and conservationists can fully collaborate in creating an urban environment that is good for people and birds. Birds in this context are an indicator of the quality of our environment.

There are sustainable solutions for many urban problems. With the protection program for city birds the Dutch Birdlife has been with 10 years experience here!
The speakers are:
. Ken Yeang – Architect (Malaysia)
. Patricia Zurita – Director of BirdLife International (UK)
. Maike van Stiphout – DS landscape architects & Academy of Architecture (NL)
. Ruud Foppen – Extraordinary professor Integrated Conservation Biology (NL)
. Redmond O’Hanlon – Author and adventurer (UK)

Isolating for biodiversity


“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!