Designing wildlife-inclusive cities that support human-animal co-existence

Apfelbeck, Beate; Snep, Robbert P.H.; Hauck, Thomas E.; Ferguson, Joanna; Holy, Mona; Jakoby, Christine; Scott MacIvor, J.; Schär, Lukas; Taylor, Morgan; Weisser, Wolfgang W.


In an urbanizing world there is an increasing priority for making cities nature-inclusive environments. Cities offer places for human-wildlife experiences, and thus for broad societal support of biodiversity conservation. Cities also depend on ecosystem services provided by biodiversity to remain healthy, liveable places. Although biodiversity is frequently addressed in urban green infrastructure plans, it often is not an integral topic in city planning, urban design and housing development. As a result, wildlife-rich urban green is often lacking in those parts of the cities where people live and work. Here, we introduce the concept of ‘wildlife-inclusive urban design’ for the built-up area of cities that integrates animal needs into the urban planning and design process. To identify key features that determine the success of wildlife-inclusive urban design, we evaluated lessons learnt from existing best practices. These were collected during an international workshop with architects, landscape practitioners, ecological consultants, conservationists and urban ecologists. We propose that features of successful wildlife-inclusive urban design projects are: 1) interdisciplinary design teams that involve ecologists early on, 2) consideration of the entire life-cycle of target species, 3) post-occupancy monitoring and evaluation with feedback to communicate best practices, and 4) stakeholder involvement and participatory approaches. We propose how wildlife-inclusive urban design could be included into the different steps of the urban planning cycle. We conclude that following these principles will facilitate incorporation of wildlife-inclusive urban design into urban planning and design and enable urban environments where humans and animals can thrive in the built-up areas.