Fragmentation, degradation, and loss of habitats have caused serious loss of biodiversity. The main drivers behind these processes are of human origin: urbanisation and agriculture. While traditionally, conservation efforts have focussed on large natural areas, a shift towards urban areas is now clearly noticeable. It has become evident that urbanisation is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. While at the same time, urbanisation poses great opportunities for the promotion of biodiversity. This is an opportunity to be grasped by landscape architects, as design will be essential in the conservation, protection or management of landscapes and habitats.
At the same time, current landscape architecture theory and practice does not suffice in providing landscape architects with the knowledge and tools to meet the biodiversity challenge. Current developments call for a new way of integrating ecological knowledge that is focussed more on ecological and biodiverse content in order to substantively address the loss of biodiversity in landscape designs, and thereby accommodate biodiversity conservation and strengthening.
This thesis expands the knowledge on designing for biodiversity by exploring how biodiversity can be integrated in urban landscape architecture. Thereby it addresses the overarching knowledge gap of how to design for biodiversity, specifically in urban areas. Related questions are answered in the process: which ecological knowledge is needed and/or relevant?; how can this knowledge be made applicable?; and what could that look like?
These questions are answered by developing biodiversity principles and guidelines that are accordingly applied on the case of Rivierenwijk in Utrecht to illustrate biodiversity by design. Thereby providing landscape architects with the knowledge and tools to maximise the biodiversity potential of their designs.