Biophilic Cities

What do these cities have in common: Singapore, Portland OR, Wellington, Birmingham, Phoenix AZ, Oslo, Vitoria Gasteiz, San Fransisco CA, New York, London, Pennsylvania, Waikato New Zealand, Mahraashtra, Sao Paulo and Shanghai?

They are committed to develop into biophilic cities. “Biophilia describes how people have innate love for, attachment to, and even need for nature. It expresses the notion that, as a design imperative, cities are more livable when they have more nature, and that people are happier and healthier when they have more contact with nature, from wild parks away from buzzing traffic all the way to street trees and flowers in tree pits” says David Maddox, editor-in-chief of The Nature of Cities.

The online editors of Biophilic Cities state that “we need nature in our lives more than ever today, and as more of us are living in cities it must be urban nature. Biophilic Cities are cities that contain abundant nature; they are cities that care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world. Nature is not something optional, but absolutely essential to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life.” The site is devoted to understanding how cities can become more biophilic, more full of nature, and to telling the stories of the places and people working to creatively build these urban-nature connections.

“The challenge is that the goals of a biophilic city should encompass all aspects of a city, both the software and the hardware”, says Lena Chan, director of the National Biodiversity Centre in Singapore.

Find out more online or check out the most recent publication  from January 2017.

Publication on Floating Gardens

170321 Floating Gardens Tanja Lina
Dutch architect Tanja Lina published a small but fine booklet on floating gardens within the Freestyle booklet series published by the Royal Institute of Dutch architects BNA. In this sixth edition within the series on personal fascinations of architects Lina documents 11 floating gardens in various countries and many of them in urban conditions. The publication contains an analysis of their functions and an inventory of possible construction methods (such as wood, eps, vegetation, textile, steel and re-used materials) – ideally to ‘create your own oasis on the water’.

Freestyle 06 ‘Floating gardens’ Ne-eng

 

Inspiring student work for urban biodiversity

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Seals have been spotted in and around Amsterdam more often recently. Marlena Rether, student of Mathias at the Academy of Architecture Amsterdam, proposes an archipelago of islands in Amsterdam.These islands are made of recycled plastics found in the water of the IJ. They are the resting places for the seals. The islands are floating upon a sort of reef construction that serves as a habitat for the seals’ favorite dish: fresh fish. An urban swim-in restaurants for seals, that can be conveniently spotted by ferry passengers and passers-by.

Marlena Rether and Bart Jonkers, students of this studio at the Academy of Architecture were invited to present their plans at the City of Amsterdam.

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: http://nextcity.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/BF-Best-Practices-Glass_FinalAODA_Bookmarked.pdf.zip

Rooftop Revolution Amsterdam

170130 blog rooftop revolution

Green roofs are good for the city by buffering water, cooling the air, absorbing fine dust and – of course – improving biodiversity. The Amsterdam crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform Rooftop Revolution launched in 2016 aims to create the newest Dutch natural reserve, right in the middle of Amsterdam. The initiative has realized some 1.300m2 of green roofs in the city so far. With a practical online toolbox the site provides insight in what the options are for individual rooftops, and what costs can be expected. There is also a special incentive for roofs from 200-1.000m2.

Int. Conference on Metropolitan Planning and Ecology

The lecture of M. van Stiphout images: http://nextcity.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/lezingvogelbescherming.pdf.zip

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

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“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!

www.stroomversnelling.nl
http://stroomversnelling.instantmagazine.com/

Second Park Bridge worldwide, pedestrian bridge ‘Palaisbrug’ Den Bosch

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

170129 Paleisbrug-13-Den-Bosch-Tips (c) denboschtips com

The Malmö Tools: Green Space Factor and the Green Points System

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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 Green Space Factor is an innovative tool for calculating green space requirements for new development; the Green Points System is a checklist of 30 green and blue infrastructure options for developers. Download the expert paper published by the Town and Country Planning Association, April 2011. © Annika Kruuse, the TCPA, and the GRaBS Project Partners.

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.