Mapping Urban Biodiversity in Urban Contexts. A dialogue with biodiversity experts

On March 20, 2024, LAND co-organized the “Mapping Urban Biodiversity in Urban Contexts” event as part of the Horizon 2020 T-Factor Project, which was sponsored by Ordine e Fondazione dell’Ordine degli Architetti di Milano, the local architects’ chamber and foundation. 

The event brought together professionals in landscape architecture, service design, agronomy, and wildlife research to present interdisciplinary and participatory approaches for mapping urban biodiversity, with the goal of encouraging conscious design choices that promote ecological transition and nature conservation.

Why is mapping biodiversity so crucial today? The answer is in front of us!
Biodiversity, or the variety of animal and plant species on our world, is rapidly decreasing, mainly due to human activities such as changes in land use and pollution, and anthropogenic climate change.

In January 2020, the European Commission unveiled the new EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030, which addresses the primary causes of biodiversity decline and establish legally binding targets. This strategy, adopted in 2021, aims to restore, resilient, and appropriately conserve all the world’s ecosystems by 2050. However, these political directives were insufficient to trigger fast changes; hence, in February 2024, MEPs approved the Nature Restoration Law as part of the EU’s action to safeguard Europe’s biodiversity.  With this policy, all EU member countries are committed to restore natural ecosystems. This regulatory state of the art makes it clear that biodiversity is not a thematic but a multidisciplinary subject that requires the urgent and radical action of a broad range of scientists and practitioners to seek dialogue and a common strategic vision that flows into concrete actions for the green transition of our habitats, not least the urban one. Citizens, however, can play a relevant role in such actions by promoting awareness, improving workplaces and residential areas, influencing the design of public spaces with their behaviors and perception. This dimension hasn’t been sufficiently explored and linkages to the professional and academic world are weak.

During the event, LAND as partner of T-Factor, explored this gap and the impact of landscape architecture on urban biodiversity and presented innovative  strategies within the MIND Milano Innovation District pilot site. Meanwhile, Polifactory (also partner of the project) unveiled BIOSCOPIUM, a pioneering tool for biodiversity mapping, aimed at to raise the awareness of local decision-makers towards urban biodiversity issues. For this reason, “Bioscopium – Guidelines for the mapping of urban biodiversity“, is a tool for mapping biodiversity and for the knowledge and protection of biodiversity in rapidly changing urban regeneration areas.

Specifically, Bioscopium tested models and practices for mapping urban biodiversity to understand the impact of the masterplan on habitats in the area during the regeneration period, inform developers and public authorities on biodiversity issues, involve citizens in biodiversity mapping as part of a citizen science approach, test and implement biodiversity observation in urban regeneration areas through open-source platforms.

The dialogue with experts from Studio Terra Viva and Apicoltura Urbana highlighted the further outcomes of Bioscopium through quantitative spatial indicators and qualitative analyses using bio-indicators as bees.

To discover more about the work that LAND and Polifactory run for Bioscopium testing, see the document accessible at the following link:

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