Ramboll offers solutions to urban planning and urban projects including an often cost effective integration of nature which is native to the area. It is all about the right planning and design, and then leaving the area for natural succession and dynamics of the ecosystem with a minimum of maintenance.
In the urban ecosystem, man is a main contributor and it is our responsibility to not only create aesthetically pleasant green and blue areas but rather living urban nature with functions for human use as well as habitats for wild species.
Urban nature should be a focus in both the development of new urban areas, where existing nature should be considered in the planning and design, as well as in the development of existing urban areas, where habitats for locally native species and nature types can be restored.
Urban nature can be found and established in all green and blue areas of the city, but also as green roofs and walls as well as road verges, on brown fields etc. The potential is often large in business areas with huge lawn areas with very little biodiversity.
Benefits of urban nature
Nature in the city has a positive effect on people, society, wildlife, and the environment as:
- Green areas in the city can hold large amounts of water as well as create cool areas with natural shade, and thereby work as a buffer against climate change.
- Nature in the city can contribute to strengthening the local, national and global biodiversity.
- Nature has a calming and healing effect on a number of illness symptoms and stress, and can thereby strengthen public health. This can ultimately lead to healthcare savings.
- Urban nature can be used for educational purposes. Spending time in nature strengthen learning and the development of the brain and makes nature conservation and sustainable living more present in the consciousness of people.
- Green corridors connecting the inner city with the less busy surroundings can contribute to increased air renewal and thereby a better air quality. More plants in the cities can also hold back emissions and contribute to cleaner air.
- Contrary to traditional parks, urban nature is by definition living ecosystems in which organisms live and reproduce in a dynamic system, and they thereby demand less maintenance.
References on urban nature
Integrating biodiversity as natural ecosystems in urban development projects has not traditionally been done on purpose, especially not in the more wealthy parts of the world. But a new agenda is moving ahead, and in 2015 the municipality of Copenhagen as the first in Denmark agreed on a strategy for urban nature in the city. Other innovative cities in Europe and the US are already actively working with restoring natural habitats as e.g. Berlin and New York, but the concept is still developing.