Author Archives: Maike van Stiphout

Tanks for Toads


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

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


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.

wild animals are welcome in Maastricht



This years DESIGN AWARD “Made for Maastricht” is dedicated to new species that search and find their place in the city. In Amsterdam, for example spoonbills and seals have been spotted; soon we can expect otters and raccoons in our cities. The competition focuses on the urban environment of Maastricht: the urban environment as a new habitat.

The assignment
Design a house for a living species in the city of Maastricht. This house should be practical and should esthetically fit into the urban environment and fullfill the demands of the designated animal. The design must lead to a more pleasant environment for humans and animals.

The DESIGN AWARD Made for Maastricht is an annual competition organized by Designday collaboration MAFAD (Maastricht Academy Fine Arts and Design). The price, 5000 euro, is provided by the City of Maastricht and fits into the bigger masterplan ‘Made in Maastricht’, to stimulate the creative manufacturing industry in the city.

The focus of the DESIGN AWARD Made for Maastricht is the (re) appreciation for craftsmanship. Therefor the submitted designs should be carried out by the designer himself. The concept of craftsmanship in this context covers the area of ​​both the old and the new digital technologies.

Read more about design day AWARD

De Binckhorst a ‘nature reserve’?



With great interest the Dutch ‘Party for The Animals‘ (Partij voor de Dieren) of the City Council of The Hague has been following the developments on building a nature-inclusive city. For a motion on building nature-inclusive the additional information and arguments where found on NextCity. The good news is that this motion is adopted by a large majority of the Hague City Council. This means that the councilor will investigate whether it is possible to put nature-inclusive development on the list of requirements of the municipal exploitation. The councilor will talk with social housing associations and examine whether it is legally possible to include this way of developing in the building
regulations of The Hague.

Based on the information about the Cruquius Area found on NextCity, the Party for The Animals added the request if the councilor may consider whether the Binckhorst area can be used as a pilot project.

Christine Teunissen: “making the city greener and more attractive to animals can be achieved by taking simple and low-cost steps, such as the use of ‘building nature inclusive. By transforming De Binckhorst in an urban ‘nature reserve’, by adapting plants to species, by integrating nesting boxes for birds and bats in the facades, we can create space for nature in the urban world. The Party for The Animals is very pleased that the alderman will start an investigation on this”.

newsitem in Dutch
motion in Dutch

“Baden gehen”



Biodiverisity grows thanks to the new “city branding”

Berlin has launched the project Flussbad, offering his inhabitants 750m of Spree canal as a swimming pool. For at least half a million residents of the city this will be their closed natural bathing water.

The 1.6 km stretch of the Spree Canal that will be re-naturalized into a biotope landscape and reed basin to purify the running water in a natural way while the 640-meter uppermost section of the river will be re-naturalized to become a wildlife habitat. The biodiversity in the city will increase.

The project will contribute towards raising public awareness on the need to ensure water quality in the city’s river. Increased public awareness will in turn inform and pressure decision-makers on the steps required to ensure all rivers are maintained in healthy conditions for recreational use and ecosystem health. Biodiversity will thrive from this.

Interesting asset is that the Flussbad project increases tourism and in particular ensures an inflow of young people who are vital tot the city’s culturural and educational landscape and for many branches of the economy.

[source: Arcadis]

Das Kind braucht seines Gleiches


Professor Dr. Ulrich Gebhard, teaching Methods of Natural Sciences on the University of Hamburg was one of the speakers at the symposium for biodiversity at the TU Braunsweig last week. He explained in a very convincing way our relation with nature citing some important researchers.

We need the contact with the nature when we are young, the psychoanalist Alexander Mitscherlich said– das Kind braucht seines Gleiches. Children do need contact with other living creatures, to build up a relation with nature. Ulrich Gebhard explained this on the hand of the bean experiment at school: let a bean grow into a plant in the class and then ask the children to cut a bone in half, they will refuse first, thinking it hurts the bean. We all have this inexplicable projection of caring for other living creatures. And we all need to “cut a bean” to develop a relation with nature.

Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, professors of psychology at the Univeristy of Michingan, have found that too much focused attention on anything can lead to mental fatique and such fatigue’s remedy is found in exposure to nature. Walking in nature brings us in a state of “nicht anstrengende aufmerksahmkeit” – a relaxed form of awareness which destresses.

Alexander Mitscherlich claims that nature gives us two basics for human wellbeing, continuity and discovery. Feeling part of nature brings us the feeling of continuity, of being part of a whole, and that gives us confidence; Secondly nature makes us curious and thus generates discoveries, which helps us further.

This tastes for more!