Integrating biodiversity into the built environment is an ever more important element of sustainable design. Policy guidance directs planning authorities to expect biodiversity benefit in new developments. Where space is at a premium the fabric of the built environment itself can be used to make cost-effective gains for biodiversity.
Historic landscapes such as parks and formal gardens have an important function for the conservation of biodiversity in Britain because they provide habitats for a range of protected species such as great crested newt, bats, badger, barn owl and water vole. In some cases the features that gardens and parklands provide, such as ancient trees and ponds, are no longer common features of the British Countryside and consequently historic landscapes have become increasingly important for the protection of British wildlife.
"Ecologists blissfully ignore 80,000 seat stadium and get frothy when the conversation turns to creating back-water habitats and planted coir pallets" - Vilas Anthwal.
In 2008 BSG was invited to become part of the LDA-Design/Hargreaves design team appointed to prepare a masterplan for the 2012 London Olympic Park, within which the principal venues for the 2012 Olympic Games will reside. Since then BSG has been working closely with environmental consultant LDA Design and the Olympic Delivery Authority on incorporating the biodiversity requirements for the park into the overall design.
A joint brown roof project between Baker Shepherd Gillespie (BSG) and LDA Design, at the Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich, has recently won the Biodiversity Award at the Sustain Magazine Awards 2010.
We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the annual Sustain Magazine awards under the category of Biodiversity for the Building 10 Brown Roof project at Woolwich Arsenal. This exciting project, which has been undertaken in collaboration with LDA-Design for Berkeley Homes (Urban Renaissance) in 2008/09, is one of the largest brown roof projects in London, covering 5,000 square metres.
Buildings are important for several well-known bird species: swifts, house martins, swallows, house sparrows, starlings, barn owls and even peregrine falcons. In the past, birds have been able to exploit opportunities left by traditional building practices and imperfect workmanship. Nesting birds depend on particular features of buildings such as cavities and crevices and access into eaves. By working together, ecologists, architects and planners can ensure that new developments offer wildlife opportunities within new buildings.
BSG Partner James Gillespie has co-authored a paper on ‘Applying Connectivity Mapping to Spatial Planning in Wales’.
Connectivity maps are key elements of a wider framework of actions to improve connectivity and protect biodiversity. There is strong political interest in this approach in Wales and a drive to include concepts of ecological connectivity within spatial planning at local and national levels to contribute to a broader green infrastructure. This paper reviews the overall approach in Wales to date and reports on the findings of studies in South East Wales.
Ecobuild is the world's biggest event dedicated to sustainable design, construction and the built environment. The exhibition was held at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre in London between 3rd and 5th March. There were 800 exhibitors, as well as conference and seminar sessions.