Author Archives: Mathias Lehner

New Paris Biodiversity Plan 2018-2024

Just a couple of days ago in March 2018 the new Paris Biodiversity Plan 2018-2024 was adopted. Among other strategies concrete actions include 20 new biodiverse public spaces until 2020, as well as an atlas of Paris nature published. Until 2012 40% of the ground surfaces shall be made permeable. More info: https://www.paris.fr/biodiversite

Download the Paris Biodiversity Plan 2018-2024 (4 page outline in French only so far).

This is not the first plan for biodiversity in the French captial. After signing the Regional Charter for Biodiversity in 2004 Paris had already 55 exterior green walls in 2006 and 90 public buildings with green roofs (36.000m2) in 2010. In 2012 Paris had more than 100.000 trees, many of them planted after the late 1990s. (Beatley, T: Green Cities of Europe, Global Lessons on Green Urbanism, 2012)

The first Paris Biodiversity Plan was adopted in 2011. It already emphasized knowledge gathering and information, the sustainable management of green spaces, supporting the creation of green roofs and walls, the protection of ecological corridors, and regional cooperation. In 2015 Paris counted 637 species of flora, and 1.300 species of fauna, including 28 mammals and 66 breeding bird species.

The 2011 plan was set up in a participative manner: “all actors must be mobilized”. (Portrait of Biodiversity in Paris, 2016). Why Paris engaged in a Biodiversity Plan? “In the very dense and highly urbanized Paris context the presence of nature in the city improves the living environment and health of the inhabitants, and contributes to reducing heat islands and pollution.”

Latest developments in biodiversity policy

March 6th, 2018 Mathias gave a keynote lecure at the conference on nature-inclusive urban design in Amersfoort, organized by the branch organizations of landscape architects (NVTL), urban planners (BNS) and the network of green designers (NGB). He presented international examples of policy for nature-inclusive and biodiverse cities, such as the Singapore LUSH program, and the recent policies in The Netherlands, The Hague and Amsterdam. Policy and building regulations quickly adopt the idea of biodiversity increasing quality of life. In addition, policies are changing: from stimulating, or suggesting they become comprehensive and compulsory. Finally, more evidence and research is coming up that prove the (economic, but not limited to those) values of more biodiversity in the city.

Nextcity.nl lectures at conference on nature-inclusive urban design


It is now possible to sign up for the thematic expert meeting on March 6th, 2018, full of practical and conceptual knowledge concerning design of green/nature/landscape within the disciplines of urbanism, landscape architecture and architecture. The full program is now published and includes a keynote by Mathias Lehner of nextcity.nl. The day offers presentations of nature-inclusive projects, and discusses results of cross disciplinary collaborations in this field. There is a discount for members of NVTL, BNSP and BNA Royal Institute of Dutch Architects. Location: De Observant, Amersfoort. Sign up via Netwerk Groene Bureaus.

Premiere Movie “The Wild City” (De Wilde Stad) on 26th of February 2018, Amsterdam

The new movie De Wilde Stad shows the city from the perspective of wild animals and plants. Mountains of glass and concrete, industrial deserts and endless canal tubes re homes to an unexpected large amount of wild animals, trees and plants. The habitats in the city are equally attractive to them then nature, forests and wilderness. “The city does not replace nature, it is nature.”
A debate accompanies the premiere of the movie and takes place on the 26 of February 2018 in cinema Tuschinski, Regulierbreestraat 26-34, Amsterdam at 1730-1845 hrs. More information see www.dewildestad.nl.

Amsterdam Municipality sets improving biodiversity as standard in building


Good news for biodiversity after the summer break! As a fore-runner Amsterdam Municipality had adopted a resolution in July 2017 that states that future building activity has to contribute to the improvement of biodiversity in the city.

In an interview with journalist and writer Kester Freriks of Dutch newspaper NRC published on September 1st 2017, municipal ecologist Anneke Blokker points out that this municipal resolution will be brought into practice for new buildings as well as renovation projects. The same goes for the construction and adaptation of public spaces.

The new Dutch term ‘natuurinclusief bouwen’  (nature inclusive building) is also promoted by nextcity.nl and has now been adopted by a municipal government, after having been part of the 2017 Dutch national Building Agenda 2050 (Bouwagenda).

Bringing together men and mussel – and cleaning a Dutch canal

160920-charlotte-van-der-woude-mussels-cleaning-water

Within a design course at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam landscape architecture student Charlotte van der Woude recently proposed the refurbishment of an abandoned space next to a Utrecht water tower. The design comprises of interconnected circular water basins and seating areas that enable a better expercience of the monumental architecture of the tower while at the same serving as a meeting point along the shores of the neighbouring canal. The exciting part though are the inhabitants of the water basins: among some plants there is a special species of mussel capable of cleaning the waters of the canal. An inspiring biodiverse design that improves public space and at the same time the water quality in the city.

Save the Date: Lectures on Biodiversity in the City – September 12th, Amsterdam


Lectures on Biodiversity in the City

René van der Velde, Landscape Architect, Associate Professor TU Delft and Mathias Lehner, Architect, Research Director nextcity.nl will lecture on Biodiversity.

Save the date!
September 12th, 2017. 19:00 hrs; Academy of Architecture Amsterdam, Balkenzaal

Want to sign up for this free event? Send an email to mathias(at)legu(dot)nl

Double Plus Good – urban green roofs

Standard-Chartered-Bank-London-Biosolar-roof-3 after (c) livingroofs org
Biosolar roof on the Standard Chartered Bank, London

As research shows green roofs are a clever design choice in urban areas. They reduce temperatures and the run off volumes of rainfall leaving roofs and improve the quality of rainwater. Next to estimated thermal performance (especially in summer) green roofs work as sound absorber, reflector and deflector, and lifespans of underlying waterproofing membranes tend to double or even triple. Finally green roofs improve air quality and can be used for urban agriculture, and can be combined perfectly with PV cells to harvest electricity more efficiently.

From nextcity.nl’s perspective the contribution of green roofs as a habitat and refuge for invertebrate populations and their contribution to urban wildlife is key, next to their value as amenity space – the provide green space and green views and thereby improve the quality of life of the city inhabitants. See livingroofs.org for inspiring examples.

Parking becomes Park

1700321 OKRA_ApeldoornCatherinaAmaliapark_06-643x473

Dutch landscape architects Okra designed a biodiverse underground parking garage in Apeldoorn by covering it by a park – characterized by a former hidden natural water stream. The project’s name, Brink Park, unlike the name suggests, was no park at the start. Parked cars and buses dominated the space. OKRA’s plan was to capture as much green space as possible by reducing infrastructure and maximising planting. The result is a green city park that evokes an artificial image of the Dutch Veluwe National Park streams. The Grift, the natural stream that was hidden in an underground tunnel, was once again brought above ground and led the design of the park. In July 2013, the Brink Park was renamed Catharina Amalia Park, after the Dutch Princess.

170321 OKRA_before-after

International Symposium Habitecture. TU Braunschweig, 13-14th of June, 2017

With speakers from the Netherlands, Germany, Chile, Switzerland and Canada the second Habitecture Conference will take in Braunschweig (DE). This two-days symposium addresses architecture for wildlife and brings to the table the newest findings and current research. It is an honour for nextcity.nl to be invited to speak on this occasion.  Join us and find out more at habitecture.de!