Green Neighbourhoods




London – Burgess Park. Image credit: Audrey Gerber

Plant a wide variety of plants

Pollen and nectar-rich trees, shrubs and perennials attract bees, butterflies and other insects which are essential for the pollination of plants. The pollinators themselves are food for many birds and small animals Plant a variety of berry and nut producing trees and shrubs to allow birds and other small animals to sustain themselves in urban areas. Create sheltered areas with dense shrubs as nesting, hiding and foraging places for birds and other small animals.

Develop new/existing biotopes

Create pockets of wildlife habitat in between the paved urban environment to attract various sorts of plants and animals. In areas with water such as shallow ponds, natural processes provide habitat for water plants, amphibians, and aquatic insects. Informed choice of plant species will support the provision of sufficient food and habitat for native animals.

Plant choices are not limited to native species

Many non-native plant species are well adapted to urban conditions as well as being colorful and attractive. Combinations of native and non-native plants enhance the urban setting while giving a sense of the native character.

All forms and scales of urban green count

Private gardens, water plants, water edges, city parks, green roofs, green walls, trees, hedges, meadows, borders, planters, street trees and shrubs all contribute to the biodiversity of urban areas. Connections between these various green spaces is essential to supporting a vibrant urban ecosystem.

Biodiversity of the planting at street level

Trees, shrubs and groundcover plants along the street do not always have to consist of one single species. By varying the species, a broader range of wildlife species can be supported. Pointing street lighting downwards enables green lanes to function as migration zones for easily disturbed flying nocturnal animals such as bats

Add to the opportunities to experience flora and fauna in the places where people live and work.

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Example of plants used in The Netherlands that benefit the biodiversity in the city

trees, shrubs, vines & perennialsbees & bumblebeesbutterfliesbirdsshelter
Crataegus laevigata x mediaxxxx
Salix sp.xxxx
Buddleija davidiixx(x)
Rubus fructicosusxxxx
Sedum spectabile/telephiumxx
Aronia spxxx

Benefits of biodiversity

  • Opportunity for citizens to experience wildlife in the place where they live and work
  • Create habitats and food sources for (endangered) insects, birds and small animals
  • Biodiversity creates more biodiversity (through cross pollination, more plants means more bees which means more plants)
  • Adds colour and interest to the urban landscape

“Attention for urban biodiversity makes that citizens have unique opportunities to experience the diversity of plant and animal life in their living and working environment.”

Dr. Robbert Snep, researcher urban ecology, Alterra – Wageningen, UR

New and existing development

In new development:

Integrate wildlife habitats in architecture and public and private green by using plant species and vegetation structures with added value for biodiversity. Interconnect the green of the development project with the overall green network in and surrounding the city, to support the migration of animals.

In existing development:

Replace pavement where possible to create habitats for urban birds, bees and butterflies using a diverse mix of selected plants and flowers.