Reimagining sustainable development through ecosystem services

18 November 2018
Experts from the Nordics and the US team up to bring an ecosystem services perspective to North America’s planning and urban design industry.
Buzzard Point, Washington, DC

Buzzard Point, Washington, DC

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Rick Wenning

Richard J. Wenning

Principal
T: +1 207 517 8242
msorensen.jpg

Mary T. Sorensen

Principal
T: +1 770 874 5010

As Ramboll continues to bring its innovation solutions to the United States, one of the first services to bridge the divide has been its liveable cities initiative. With the aim of shaping a sustainable future, Ramboll focuses on combining resources from several of our global markets, including Planning & Urban Design, Environment & Health and Water, to help clients design for long-term liveability – from cities to neighborhoods to housing developments.

“We believe in what we’re doing,” Project Manager Lars Johansson says. “It’s inspiring to take part in developing our services in the states, and to translate the Nordic way of applying a strong ecosystem services perspective into planning and urban design. You need to reshape it a bit.”

Part of that reshaping is reimagining the development cycle through the lens of an integrated approach that puts ecosystem considerations front and center, something Ramboll has done in several cities throughout the Nordics. For instance, considering ecosystem services in the planning stage rather than later in the process provides the designers with qualitative input and a solid path forward, and can help avoid costly changes later in the process. 

“If you are developing something – land, a building, a neighborhood – you start with an idea and you end up with maintenance. You have the idea, the planning, the design, the construction, everything along the way, and we have implemented our integrated approach in all these steps in different projects,” Lars says. “It’s one of our strengths and what distinguishes us from several of our competitors.”

Experts from both the Nordics and the US will bring this approach to this year’s A Community on Ecosystems Services (ACES) Conference in Washington, DC, USA, 3-5 December 2018, participating in several sessions and offering an innovative, hands-on workshop for attendees.

“ACES provides a great forum to showcase our unique skill sets at the intersection of sustainability and urban/landscape planning,” Principal Richard Wenning says. “This is the second year we’re sharing our expertise from the Nordics at ACES with the goal of introducing communities and development agencies in the US to design and planning approaches successfully applied throughout Scandinavia. Ramboll is at the forefront of this shift toward sustainable development.”

The workshop, which will be led by Wenning, Johannson and Team Manager Kaisa Mustajärvi, focuses on applying an ecosystem services framework to urban planning and design through a visit to a real-life brownfield/greenfield site in Arlington, Virginia. Visualizations of the site will be provided to participants to showcase how applying an ecosystems perspective (specifically blue-green infrastructure) can help upgrade the quality of the site and the effect on the system level. All feedback gathered from the workshop will be provided to the city as an introduction to our approach and services. 

“We hope that it’s a refreshing and unique approach – that you are working on a real case,” Kaisa says. “It brings up the benefits of working together and the fun of co-creation, but also shows the challenges of applying theory into practice.”

Learn more about our participation at ACES 2018.

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
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