The role of biodiversity in creating green, healthy cities and towns

Goodenia macmillanii (cultivated, labelled), R...

Goodenia macmillanii (cultivated, labelled), Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The growth of cities and towns is one of the most serious ecological problems currently facing Australia and the world.

The increase in the number of people living in cities and towns, coupled with the magnitude and intensity of human activities has resulted in significant impacts to local, regional and global environments. Understanding the impact that urbanisation has on the ecology of cities will help to identify measures that can be taken to minimise the detrimental effects to ecological patterns and processes.

There is a growing body of literature that reports on the positive contribution that can be made by incorporating plants and animals into the fabric of the urban environment.  The shift in focus towards developing more sustainable, healthy cities provides an excellent opportunity to explicitly incorporate biodiversity elements into the planning, design and construction of urban environments. By enhancing the biodiversity element in our urban environments, we can not only achieve better outcomes for plants and animals in these areas, but we can also harness opportunities for increasing the mental and physical health of the people living in cities and towns.

The synergies present in the various elements of sustainable design, including water sensitive urban design, energy efficient buildings and practices, and community health and well-being initiatives, mean that the best design practices do not necessarily require trade-offs between them. With thoughtful and innovative designs we can address all of these goals simultaneously and to achieve healthier cities with greater efficiency.

Dr Amy Hahs  (GIS Ecologist, Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne will speak at the: 5th Australian Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference 2012 The Mercure Hotel and Conference Centre, Geelong, Victoria – 6th to the 8th of June – 2012 Secretariat Tele: (61 7) 5502 2068: http://healthycities.com.au

The Full Program – Blog – Twitter – Linkedin details available on the website

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