Animalesque utopia in cities? Kick-off symposium April 14th, Berlin

Animalesque is a design-led architectural research and education laboratory committed to using innovative technology to study the way animals and humans interact in urban environments. Its goal is to create new forms of urban living that enable all forms of life to co-inhabit cities in a mutually beneficial way. The laboratory is set up by the Architectural Association in collaboration with ANCB.

Berlin is an ideal location for exploring new ways humans and wildlife can co-inhabit urban spaces. Initially, Animalesque will develop architectural models that integrate bee nesting spaces into their structures. Through its educational programmes and outreach work, the AA Visiting School aims to inspire a discussion and debate on the practical ways innovative combinations of zoology, life sciences, digital technology, architecture and cybernetics can make cities better places for all forms of life to prosper.

Date: Saturday, 14 April 2018, 2.00 – 6.00 pm
Place: ANCB/Aedes, Christinenstr. 18-19, 10119 Berlin. More info see ANCB.

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.”

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: https://vimeo.com/98080426 or http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11862/The-Nature-Of-Cities

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.

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:https://issuu.com/gemeenteamsterdam/docs/planam-03-2017-eng?e=19262377%2F55651571

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: www.nationaalbaggermuseum.nl/exposities

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