UBC Graduate Research

Greening Where People Gather: Conserving Biodiversity and Creating Habitat in the Cambie Corridor Clark, Joanna


Conditions are not great: streams, rivers, and forests are degraded beyond repair and species extinction rates are higher than ever before. The first priority for improving ecosystem health is to save and restore the intact ecosystems on which we so depend. But no matter how complete and connected these wild places are, they will still feel the impact of human activities and settlements nearby. Not only are cities usually located in species rich areas such as on flood plains or river estuaries, but in the process of development, nature is culverted, levelled, piped and replaced with skyscrapers, pavement and landscapes with introduced plants. People in cities are then separated from the natural world, leading to what some researchers suggest, nature deficit disorder, depression, impeded development and a lack of desire to protect the environment in the future, adding to the threat of further decline. While the normal practice is to separate nature from cities and relegate it to protected areas, there is a growing movement that is suggesting that nature should be integrated into the built environment. With thoughtful planning and design that considers natural systems and local ecology, research shows that cities can support wildlife species, even those endangered and threatened, while purifying the air, water, mitigating heat island effect and providing that much needed opportunity for people to connect to nature. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir This project explores how habitats can be integrated into our cities through a literature review, precedent studies, and design principles explored in the Cambie Corridor in Vancouver BC. Perhaps the most important learning from this project is that first, we must always protect and restore remnants of nature in the city, second, enhance and protect existing biodiversity. Third, weave nature into the urban fabric through high quality ecological designs such as greenroofs, stormwater management and food gardens. Finally, to ensure biodiversity success, these protected, restored, enhanced and integrated habitats must be connected to ultimately create an ecological network throughout the city.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International