By Christopher Swope, Cityscope: “This week’s Citiscope innovation feature story looks at the ways Singapore fosters connections to nature in a dense urban environment. This is a subject Timothy Beatley knows a lot about. Beatley is the founder of the Biophilic Cities Network, a global group of cities that each in its own way is working at making nature a bigger part of the urban experience.
“Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He’s also written or co-authored more than 15 books on cities and sustainability including Biophilic Cities. His most recent book came out last July. It’s called Blue Urbanism, and it explores the connections between cities and the sea.”
Inside a city that works hard at keeping the jungle in “urban jungle.”
by Grace Chua: Cityscope
“SINGAPORE — When it comes to discovering plant and animal species, this densely packed metropolis of more than 5 million people is full of surprises.
“A year ago, a slender woody tree known as Alangium ridleyi, which was believed to have been lost to development, was discovered hiding in plain sight in the middle of Singapore’s heavily visited Botanic Gardens. (A dry spell triggered the tree to put out its small and delicate yellow flowers.)
“Then in May, researchers found a species of shrub brand-new to science called Hanguana neglecta, a shin-high spray of blade-like leaves. It was spotted right beside a footpath in a nature reserve.” Source: citiscope.org
Singapore’s commitment to biodiversity is outstanding.
Across Australia – and the world – the future of large old trees is bleak and yet large trees support many species such as birds and small mammals, says Mr Darren Le Roux, a PhD student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions… Source: phys.org
GR: Urban forests are islands of extreme diversity. They include many species of native and exotic trees planted in yards and along streets. The trees offer varied habitat for many arboreal wildlife species. But as they grow, they threaten homes, power lines, sidewalks, and streets. As indicated by the student’s research reported in this article, urban residents and city planners undervalue the wildlife habitat provided by the trees. Alternatives to pruning and removal are rarely considered. In many cities, people burn or inter in garbage dumps the branches or trunks of trees that are pruned or removed. We should pile such materials in vacant lots to provide habitat for ground-dwelling wildlife. If we intend to convert Earth into a fully occupied cultural landscape, we must devote more care to preserving trees.