Author Archives: Mathias Lehner

What is Petra Blaisse reading when it comes to biodiversity?

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

Excellent biodiverse designs by students


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.

Interview with Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside

161107-ml-en-pb-interview-emila-actie-c-mvsLast 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!

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.