Whilst the concept of green infrastructure (GI) is now firmly established as a key component of modern place making, our understanding of its application, and the nuances involved in measuring its benefit, still require work. Greengage have therefore been working on a number of projects which aim to broaden our understanding of the real world benefit of GI, both in terms of its ecological benefit and the wider environmental gains it can help deliver on a project basis.
Our long term ecological monitoring scheme on Lendlease’s Elephant Park project entered its fourth year in 2019, with data on how bats, birds and invertebrates are using the newly created habitats across the site collected throughout the summer.
Similarly, Greengage supported Canary Wharf Group in the application of their new Biodiversity Action Plan by undertaking extensive ecological surveys to establish a detailed baseline, as well provide support in the delivery of their strategic objectives (including trials with a solar powered swift call system).
These surveys, alongside numerous living roof condition reviews undertaken throughout the year are allowing us to piece together the story of exactly how GI is being used by wildlife in our cities, helping us optimise design to deliver the greatest benefit for nature and our clients. We have also built on this knowledge to deliver a number of training sessions for clients throughout the UK, including contributing to RIBA and Place Services training courses on the topic of GI Design, presenting at the City of Trees annual seminar and helping leading developers to promote the use of Green Roofs in Manchester.
Building on this insight further throughout 2019 we provided strategic support to Landsec in the development of their corporate biodiversity policy, ‘Places for People and Nature’. This progressive policy document sets targets which exceed minimum standards, aiming to not only deliver gains for biodiversity but to achieve net environmental gain through optimising and measuring ecosystem service improvement on their new developments.
Commitments like this represent industry’s growing appreciation of the value that nature adds to our lives, and stands to provide a firm grounding for companies looking to respond to emerging, and increasingly progressive policy on the horizon in 2020.