Animal-Aided Design – bridging the gap between landscape architecture and conservation

Biodiversity underlies many of the ecosystem services demanded by humans. To maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services, the creation of a ‘green infrastructure’ has been proposed for Europe. The basic idea is that this green infrastructure is as important for the human society as other infrastructures such as the electricity grid.

It is unclear, however, how such a green infrastructure should be created. Urban open spaces are currently planned by landscape architects with a primary focus on aesthetic design, or by city planners with little expertise in ecology. As a consequence, standard planning procedures do not create a green infrastructure. On the other hand, conservation often targets the few remaining areas with little influence of humans, also in cities. While this will conserve biodiversity and maintain certain ecosystem services, it also does not represent a targeted planning process aimed at providing a green infrastructure also in places where there are no wilderness areas left. In fact, conservation and urban planning often work against one another rather than together, for example when a planning process is executed with little reference to biodiversity and when nature protection laws interfere with this planning process by requiring adaptation of the design due to the occurrence of a protected species.

We have developed Animal-Aided Design® as a methodology for the design of open spaces that can help to overcome this difference between landscape architecture and conservation. The basic idea of Animal-Aided Design® (in short, AAD) is to include the presence of animals in the planning process, such that they are an integral part of the design. For AAD, the desired species are chosen at the beginning of a project. The requirements of the target species, i.e. their life-cycles, then set boundary conditions and serve as an inspiration for the design. The aim of AAD is to establish a stable population at the project site.
Download booklet that describes Animal-Aided Design (only in German). Please use the two-pages view in Adobe Acrobat!

Animal-Aided Design is a cooperation project with Dr. Thomas Hauck, Universität Kassel Link to Polinna Hauck Landscape+Urbanism

and a subproject of the Centre for Urban Ecology and Climate Adaptation (ZSK).