Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Case Study by: Mike Eklund Vienna, Austria is a city that is well known for its beauty and elegance, as well as for being one of the most livable cities on the planet.  There are many factors that have resulted in Vienna’s high quality of life, but one of the most important factors happens to be that more than 51% of Vienna’s total land area is green space, making it a perfect example for an urban case study for the Nature Needs Half vision.  Statistically, there are approximately 120 square meters of green space for every resident of Vienna, with this number growing steadily with the addition of new avenue trees and projects to green up courtyards and facades.  The responsibilities are spread across many municipal departments, and include environmental protection, energy planning, canalization, water and waste management, and forestry and agriculture. © Biosphärenpark Wienerwald Vienna is situated on the edge of the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald), which is situated on the foothills of the Alps and contains a biosphere reserve designated in 2005 by UNESCO that covers an area of 1350km2 (333,592 acres).  The area is home to roughly 2,000 species of plants and 150 species of birds as well as a whole host of other endangered species.  One example of an endangered species that has thrived in the Wienerwald is the Ural Owl, which was reintroduced into the forest in 2008.  In 2011, just three years after its reintroduction the Ural Owl began to reproduce in the Wienerwald for the first time in over 50 years.  Within the greater Wienerwald there are a total of 15 nature reserves...
Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

Biodiverse Urban Habitats in Ioannina, Greece

By: Austin Perez One of Greece’s largest cities has proven to be an unexpected biodiversity hotspot supporting an urban habitat for a diverse array of vegetative species. Ioannina is a city in the northwestern region of Greece with a population of over 112,000 people, and is full of centuries worth of history and culture. But researchers have recently discovered that Ioannina is also a biodiversity hotspot and provides a fruitful habitat for a wide diversity of plant species. A recent study has discovered that Ioannina has 11 different habitat types supporting 379 plant species, 27 of which are of conservation interest. Over half (68%) of all of the plant species and subspecies studied were found to be existing in anthropogenic habitats, which were either designed or altered by human activity. This case study presented by Ioannina exemplifies that the anthropogenic habitats of European cities can function as important areas for biodiversity. The existence of biodiverse habitats in city areas demonstrates the importance of promoting urban planning policies that incorporate a focus on nature conservation. This is a key strategy of the WILD Cities Project, which is striving to support the existence and productivity of wild nature in urban areas all over the world in congruence with the Nature Needs Half vision. >> Read more here: Urban habitats as a refuge for biodiversity: A case study in Greece © Aimilios Petrou Source: Kantsa, A., Tscheulin, T., Junker, R.R. et al. (2013). “Urban biodiversity hotspots wait to get discovered: The example of the city of Ioannina, NW Greece”. Landscape and Urban Planning. 120: 129 137. DOI:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.08.013.    ...
Zurich Airport – Flughafen Zürich AG

Zurich Airport – Flughafen Zürich AG

Case Study by: Austin Perez  A modern airport is not the sort of place where one would typically expect to find a large tract of protected wild nature. But, the Zurich Airport, Flughafen Zürich AG, has demonstrated an extraordinary devotion to protecting the region’s wild nature by designating a large amount of the airport’s property as nature conservation areas. The Zurich Airport maintains over half of its site as nature conservation areas, and thereby protects some of the region’s beautiful ecosystems and several species of Switzerland’s unique flora and fauna. Flughafen Zürich AG is located just 13 kilometers north of Zurich’s city center, and it is Switzerland’s largest international airport. Although the Zurich Airport is a bustling transportation center, more than half of the airport’s site is undeveloped and not utilized for aviation. Zurich Airport covers an area of approximately 880 hectares, of which 780 hectares are fenced off and not open to the public. Approximately half of the airport’s total land area has been maintained as conservation areas or undeveloped green spaces that feature an assortment of ecologically valuable natural landscapes of reed meadows, mire woodlands, and marshlands.   © Zurich Airport The 74 hectare nature conservation area “Klotener Riet”, which is located between two of the airport’s runways, consists of a very unique ecosystem of national importance. Together with the other nature conservation areas adjacent to the airport, “Altläufe der Glatt”, “Bachenbülacher Allmend”, “Rütner Allmend” and “Goldentor”, these protected areas constitute some of the only remaining mire landscapes in this region of Europe. By supporting ecosystem connectivity and protecting these extremely unique and ecologically valuable marshland forest...
Victoria

Victoria

Case Study by: Austin Perez Victoria, the capital city of the province of British Columbia, is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off of the western coast of Canada. The Victoria region, known as the Capital Regional District (CRD), has a population of 375,000 people, making it the 15th most populous metropolitan area in Canada. The region is well known for its beautiful architecture with a distinct British influence reminiscent of the Victorian era, and is renowned for its lush gardens and green spaces scattered all over the region. With its dense forests, picturesque coastline, and abundant greenery, the CRD is highly regarded for its natural beauty. Like a growing number of other regions around the world, the CRD places a major emphasis on promoting sustainability, ecological integrity, and the conservation of its natural environment. However, the CRD has gone above and beyond the norm in developing its regional conservation strategy by creating a unique policy that features an extraordinary commitment to examining the application of the Nature Needs Half vision by promoting ecological connectivity and striving to manage at least half of the region’s land and water base for the conservation of nature. Victoria City View © Ron Niebrugge The CRD has developed a policy entitled the Regional Parks Strategic Plan for 2012-2021 (RPSP), which is a management strategy for the region’s parks and trails for the next ten years. The RPSP and its budget have now been formally approved by the CRD Board of Directors and placed into effect, giving the CRD a unique and progressive policy that emphasizes connectivity and ecosystem health in a...
Oslo

Oslo

Case Study by: Austin Perez Norway’s capital city, Oslo, is a beautiful and modern European metropolis that is often distinguished for its world-renowned museums and galleries and for being one of the most affluent cities in all of Europe. Oslo is the most populous city in Norway and the third largest city in Scandinavia with over 600,000 residents living within the municipality and over 1.4 million people residing in the metropolitan area. Oslo is also the economic and governmental center of Norway, and it is an important hub for maritime industries and trade throughout Europe. However, in addition to being a contemporary metropolis and flourishing European capital, Oslo has also made an extraordinary commitment to preserving its areas of wild nature. Approximately two-thirds (307 km2) of Oslo’s total land area (454 km2) is covered by protected forest areas, hills, and waterways, and the City Government for the City of Oslo has enacted very ambitious environmental policies that demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that these areas of wild nature are preserved. Oslo has epitomized the vision of Nature Needs Half by creating an environmental policy that strives to conserve and strengthen the ecosystems and wild nature that exist within its urban environment. Oslo has a gorgeously unique geographic location, as it occupies a piece of land at the tip of a fjord that extends right into the heart of the city. Eight beautiful rivers run from the fjord into the belt of forests and lakes that surround the city. The central third of the municipality’s land area consists of the built-up infrastructure of the city that contains almost all of...
Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Case Study by: Austin Perez When most people think of Hong Kong, they likely often picture an image of a gorgeous skyline and the busy streets of a thriving metropolis. With a population of over 7 million people in an area of only about 1,000 km2, Hong Kong is certainly a bustling modern city with a dense population, a flourishing economy, and some of the world’s most impressive infrastructure. However, despite its dense population and pressure to develop its available lands for continued economic growth, Hong Kong has made a tremendous commitment to preserve wild nature in the region and thereby establish one of the most expansive urban wildlife conservation policies in the world. Hong Kong Cityscape at night Beyond the skyscrapers of the city center, Hong Kong has a vibrant and beautiful natural environment that is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, and its government has placed a major emphasis on ensuring the preservation of Hong Kong’s “urban wilderness.”  In total, Hong Kong has designated about 41% of its land area and about 1.5% of its marine environment as protected areas, which makes Hong Kong an excellent example of how the vision of Nature Needs Half can be applied in the urban environment of a large modern city. Following the wartime period in the 1940’s, Hong Kong’s environment was largely decimated and the region was almost completely deforested due to a demand for timber during the war. In addition, the rapid population growth, urban encroachment, and unplanned recreation use in the region in the middle of the 20th century further deteriorated Hong Kong’s natural environment. However, the...