Designing Cities with Nature in Mind

Designing Cities with Nature in Mind

Dr Peter Shepherd will be appearing on Tuesday 19th January 2016 as an expert panel member at a seminar organised by the Environmental Research Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Oxford.

This is the first in the Grand Challenges Seminar Series, organised by a group of interdisciplinary PhD students at the University of Oxford, which is intended to “provide a forum to hear from experts and discuss the pressing issues and questions surrounding our environment”.

The topic Peter will be considering with the audience is “Designing Cities with Nature in Mind”. He has been asked to provide an expert view on the value of nature in cities because of his long involvement with urban ecology and nature conservation beginning with his doctoral research into the ecology of urban and post-industrial plant communities in the UK, through to his professional input into designing new urban environments in the UK and more recently Moscow.

Peter’s PhD thesis remains the only comprehensive study of the vegetation of towns and cities in the UK, and places our urban plant communities into a European context.  He is also the author of the Flora of Nottingham which pulls together a wealth of data on the extraordinary diversity of plants in that City. The flora was the culmination of 10 years work and study in Nottingham as a researcher and as the Urban Conservation Officer for the Nottingham Urban Wildlife Scheme in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Peter has also managed urban nature reserves, advised local planning authorities on urban biodiversity policy, and completed habitat surveys of the urban environments of Tyne and Wear, Nottingham, Norwich, Newark and the federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

He has a great deal of experience in the incorporation of biodiversity assets into urban green spaces, and was the ecologist on the team that designed and oversaw the delivery of the Olympic Park in London. Peter was responsible for ensuring the Biodiversity Action Plan objectives for the Park were delivered whilst also creating a vibrant park for people as a centrepiece for one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe. He remains involved on a number of projects as the Legacy of the Olympics is being realised.

He continues to advise and present training on the subject, most recently to urban designers, architects and landscape architects, where he has been considering the importance of nature in cities, the rich diversity of habitats and wildlife to be found there, and its value to people and our quality of lives.

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