Many people, institutions and governments are looking for ‘hard’ data to illustrate the impact and advantages of biodiverstity in the city. Is it possible to straightforwardly give insights upon the added value of biodiversity expressed in numbers and charts?
A tool for documenting ‘the good things’ of urban gardering en farming developed by US based initiative Farming Concrete might be an interesting example on how to generate data. Within five categories their data collection toolkit does not only collect data on the food produced (counting crops and harvests) and the environment (decrease of waste produced due to composting and collecting rainwater and thus saving municipal water) but also three more categories on social, health and economic benefits. It is inspiring to see the social dimension of acceptance and involvement of inhabitants and the neighbourhood illustrated with this tool. Within the health data the well-being of city-dwellers is mapped with categories like ‘good moods in the garden’ and experience ‘beauty of the garden’. The economic values collected are measured in harvested food donated and its market value equivalence (read a review of the Farming Concrete tool here).
It is inspiring to see the approach of this freely available tool and its increased use in many communities (215 gardens use the tool today). With the Building for Biodviersity LAB of Nexcity in full swing it is exciting to see if and how the value of ecosystem services provided due to an increase of biodiversity can be shown by the LAB participants.