October 22 2012

“Endangered Species” in Urban Surroundings?

Apparently there are endangered species in our urban environments, although it may be difficult to realize. How often, when we are getting around a city, with its pollution, noise, and traffic congestion, do we see something that reminds us of nature?

Public transit in Rotteradam

It is often the case that biodiversity declines with urban expansion. Extensive roads, transportation systems, and building construction are continuously being developed as city populations continuously increase.

Human settlements change, to some extent, the ecological balance of flora and fauna in urban communities. Several studies show that the number of native species in urban surroundings decreases, unlike that of non-native species. According to a research published at the “Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society” in 2004, a loss of 42,6% of native plant species (578 of 1357) was recorded in New York City metropolitan area.

Taking this into account, the Rotterdam-based architect company “Openfabric” plans to restore urban biodiversity with the project “Diverse Networks.”

Diverse Networks Openfabric

Rotterdam’s transportation system covers in total 634 km in length. According to “Diverse Networks,” this transportation network will be suitable not only for passengers but for biodiversity as well. Redesigned tram and railway lines, bus stops, and metro stations will be the new habitats for crickets, butterflies, birds, and bats.
Landscape architect Francesco Garofalo, from the team of “Diverse Networks,” hopes that this project will spread around the world because “all that is needed is a widespread public transportation network and a certain urban density, which allows transformation.”

Greece is known for its high ecological diversity and many species of the country’s flora and fauna are important in a European and global level. Already existing sustainable measures, protect biodiversity in natural habitats, such as “Natura 2000 network” and “Directive 92/43/EEC”. However until 2011, 31% of land habitats and 80% of marine habitats, protected by Directive 92/43/EEC were found in a relatively unsatisfactory state.

Unfortunately, regarding preservation of biodiversity in urban environments, there is not a realizable plan yet in Greece.

Do you know any other cities ready to restore lost urban biodiversity?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Athina Kyrgeorgiou

Athina Kyrgeorgiou graduated from National Technical University of Athens, Greece as a Civil Engineer with a specialization in Transportation Planning and Engineering. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and is always eager to learn about sustainable ideas and solutions for a better life in her city. A part of her research has been the impact of day-lighting patients’ rooms, which provided her the possibility to research further into bio-climatic design of buildings. She aims to continue her studies with a Master’s degree in transportation and sustainable development. Her blogs covered environmental issues and urban planning occurring in Athens, but also generally in Greece, trying to analyse them from an engineering point-of-view.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2012 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Energy, Engineering, Environment, Environmental Design, Government/Politics, History/Preservation, Housing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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